Research Uncovers Link Between Substance Use, Frequent Indoor Tanning

New research shows that high levels of substance use among young adults are linked to problematic levels of indoor tanning, perhaps because of a similar addictive process for the two behaviors.

Reuters reported April 19 that according to a study conducted by Catherine E. Mosher, Ph.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and colleagues, 42 percent of a college student cohort that met criteria for indoor tanning addiction reported past-month use of two or more substances (not including alcohol). By contrast, only 16 percent of students who had never engaged in indoor tanning reported the same level of substance use.

The researchers also found greater alcohol and marijuana use among students meeting criteria for indoor tanning addiction. Dependence on indoor tanning was measured based on modified versions of instruments used to assess for substance use disorders. The study findings were based on results of questionnaires completed by 421 college students in the Northeast in 2006.

Study results were published in the April 2010 issue of the Archives of Dermatology

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