Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999 Apr;40(4):572-6.

A population-based survey on the use of artificial tanning devices in the Province of Québec, Canada.

Author information

Service Santé et Environnement, Unité de recherche en santé publique, CHUQ-Pavillon CHUL, Beauport (Québec), Canada.



The suntanning industry has grown up over the last decade in North America, mainly because tanned skin is socially desirable and artificial tanning is perceived as a "safe tan." However, exposure to UV radiation is known to cause adverse health effects.


The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of use of tanning equipment in the Province of Québec and to characterize people who reported using these devices.


In 1996, a telephone survey was carried out among adults from the two most densely populated regions (Montréal, Québec) of the Province of Québec. The final sample included 1003 white persons 18 to 60 years old. Interviewers used a standardized questionnaire to document the characteristics of the participant, skin phototype, and exposure habits to artificial UV radiation sources.


During the last 5 years before the survey, 20.2% of the respondents reported they had used, at least once, a tanning device in a commercial tanning salon. The rate of use during the last 12 months before the study was 11.1%. A significantly higher proportion of female, young people (18 to 34 years old) and single persons was found among tanning bed users. Twenty-six percent of users experienced one or more acute adverse health effects from the artificial UV irradiation. Most of these were cases of skin burns. A high proportion (77.5%) of those who used tanning equipment during the last year before the study said they would return to tanning salons. The intention of returning to a tanning salon was not influenced by the occurrence of the acute adverse health effects. The most prevalent reason given for using tanning equipment was "to improve their appearance by a tan." Most people (60.4%) who used a tanning bed during the last 5 years before the study believe that tanning salons are not dangerous.


This survey indicates that tanning bed use is very prevalent in the Province of Québec, mainly among young women. The high rate of acute adverse health effects related to artificial tanning, particularly skin burns, is of concern. Finally, our results underline the importance of changing attitudes and beliefs in the population regarding artificial tanning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center