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Sunbed use in the Danish population in 2007: A cross-sectional study

Background: In Denmark, the incidence of all types of skin cancer, including malignant melanoma, has been increasing since the 1960s. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main preventable cause of skin cancer. We describe current sunbed use in the Danish population.

Methods: A population-based sample of 3437 persons aged 15-59 years completed a questionnaire that included items on artificial and natural exposure to UV. We examined relations between sunbed use, outdoor tanning, knowledge about associated health risks and demographic factors with logistic regression analysis.

Results: Within the past 12 months, 29% of all Danes aged 15-59 had used a sunbed, including 59% females aged 15-19, even though knowledge about the relation between exposure to UV and cancer was more frequent in this group. A larger proportion of persons aged 15-18 had first used a sunbed before the age of 14 than older groups. Single males, frequent outdoor sunbathers, persons who experienced sunburns and less educated persons were more likely to use sunbeds.

Conclusions: Future campaigns to reduce the Danes sunbed use should target initiation by young people and the high prevalence among them. The results suggest a legislative solution, with a minimum age of 18 years for indoor tanning.

Sunbed use in the Danish population in 2007: A cross-sectional study