Skip navigation

High-risk sun-tanning behaviour: a quantitative study in Denmark, 2008-2011

Objectives: The incidences of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer have increased markedly over the past 30 years. The main risk factor is ultraviolet radiation from the sun and from sunbeds. The Danish Sun Safety campaign was launched in 2007 to curb this development by reducing the exposure of adolescents and young children. In this study, the characteristics of high-risk sun-tanning behaviour were assessed and the effect of the campaign was determined.

Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: Data from annual Internet surveys were compiled in 2008-2011 of 18, 685 15-64-year-old Danes. A tanning index based on sunbed use and intentional tanning in and outside Denmark was the outcome measure in a linear regression model, which included age, gender, skin type, education, income and survey year as exposure variables.

Results: High-risk tanning behaviour was associated with female gender, younger age, shorter education, skin type 3 or 4, higher income, smaller household and living in larger cities. The tanning index, where 100 represent high-risk behaviour, increased by 13.45 points for women as compared with men, dropped by 1.35 points for each 5-year increase in age, rose by 20.72 points for skin type 4 as compared with type 1 and increased by 10.33 points with an income >€105, 409 as compared with <€26, 352. high-risk behaviour decreased during the study period, especially among women and younger people.>

Conclusions: High-risk sun-tanning behaviour is linked to certain personal and social characteristics. After initiation of the Danish Sun Safety Campaign in 2007, this high-risk behaviour decreased, especially in the groups initially targeted by the campaign. The campaign may thus reduce the future incidence of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.

High-risk sun-tanning behaviour: a quantitative study in Denmark, 2008-2011