Reasons for tanning bed use: a survey of community college students in North Carolina.
BACKGROUND: Tanning bed use is classified as carcinogenic and is associated with an increased risk of skin cancer. The aim of this cross-sectional survey was to identify the most commonly stated reasons for tanning bed use among a sample of male and female community college students in eastern North Carolina. METHODS: A brief, self-administered survey was distributed to students during English, Art, or Psychology class periods in 5 eastern North Carolina community colleges during the 2010 fall semester. RESULTS: The 95% response rate consisted of 487 returned surveys. Of the 487 respondents, 12.7% (N = 62) were current users, 24.5% (N = 119) were past users, and 62.2% (N = 303) reported never using tanning beds. Women (79%) were more likely than men (18%) to be current or former tanning bed users. Three African Americans reported current tanning bed use (4.8%). Reasons for tanning bed use were similar among men and women, with "I think I look better when I am tan" being the most commonly cited reason (70.2%) for tanning bed use. LIMITATIONS: A convenience sample limits generalizability to all North Carolina students attending community college. CONCLUSIONS: Current tanning bed use was not widely reported. However, educational strategies for preventing tanning bed initiation or recurrence among male and female community college students should include appearance-driven factors.
Neenan, A; Lea, CS; Lesesky, EB
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