Sunbed use and campaign initiatives in the Danish population, 2007-2009: a cross-sectional study
Background Denmark has experienced an increase in melanoma incidence since the 1960s. In 2007, a skin cancer prevention campaign was launched, one of the targets being the widespread use of sunbeds in Denmark. The antisunbed campaign comprised public affairs initiatives and campaign activities, which included the social media, with young people as the main target.
Objective The aim of this study was to describe the development in sunbed use after the start of the campaign in the period 2007–2009.
Methods A population-based sample of 14 514 respondents aged 15–59 years completed four questionnaires in 2007–2009 on artificial exposure to ultraviolet radiation. We examined the relations between sunbed use, time and demographic factors using logistic regression analysis.
Results The odds ratio (OR) for being a sunbed user in 2009 when compared with 2007 was 0.61 (0.54–0.69); in the age group of 15–19 years, the OR was 0.42 (0.30–0.69). In 2009, however, 23% of Danes (33% of 15–19-year-olds) still reported sunbed use within the past 12 months, and more than 50% had experienced sunburn caused by a sunbed. In 2009, the majority of the population, including the age group of 15–19 years, was in favour of restricting admission to sunbed parlours for children under 18 years.
Conclusions Sunbed use in Denmark decreased concurrently with the campaign activities, with the largest change in the youngest age group, which was a prioritized target of the campaign. Results suggest that a legislative solution should be found to avoid exposure of a large proportion of children to ultraviolet radiation and to reduce future melanoma incidence.