Skin Cancer Groups Call for New Public Education Initiatives

SunAWARE joins the Dermatology Nurses' Association in calling for public education on skin cancer prevention. Both groups say revenues from "tanning tax" should be used for this purpose.

Online PR News – 11-April-2010 – – Minneapolis, MN, April 10--SunAWARE, a not-for-profit education advocate for the prevention and detection of skin cancer, joined the Dermatology Nurses’ Association today in calling for revenues from the so-called “tanning tax” to be dedicated to public education about sun protection.
“The tanning tax has been ridiculed and derided as an attack on women and small business. It’s even been called racist,” said Mary Mills Barrow, executive director of SunAWARE. “The very nature of these attacks demonstrates the urgent need for public education on sun protection and indoor tanning. We support the call by the Dermatology Nurses’ Association that revenues derived from the tanning tax be used for public education about this critical health issue.”
The recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act imposed a 10 percent federal tax on indoor tanning. The measure is anticipated to generate $2.7 billion in revenues over the next ten years.
“We hope the increased cost of tanning will deter at least some of the over one million American people who use indoor tanning every day, 70% of whom are girls and women between the ages of 16 and 29 years old,” said Barrow.
“In addition, we hope that the Congress will not see the tax as another revenue generator, but as a specific pool of money that can be used to educate the public on the dangers of unprotected UVR exposure, including tanning,” she said.
Recent studies reported in the March Archives of Dermatology show the skin cancer epidemic is far graver than had been thought. The research shows that the incidence of skin cancer has more than doubled, to 3.5 million cases affecting 2.2 million Americans every year. The last national study, conducted in 1994, showed that approximately one million American contracted skin cancer every year. Although the analysis did not offer any conclusion as to why skin cancers have grown so fast, researchers did conclude that “educational programs emphasizing sun protection have mainly been disappointing in slowing skin cancer rates.”
In July 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization, released a finding that UV radiation (UVA and UVB) from tanning devices is “carcinogenic to humans.” Other carcinogenic agents in the same risk group as tanning devices include cigarettes, mustard gas, and plutonium, according to the IARC. The World Health Organization has recommended that as a result of tanning beds dangers, individuals under eighteen years old should not use tanning beds.
“Despite the widespread publicity given the findings of the World Health Organization, we have seen little to suggest that it’s had any impact on overall tanning bed usage,” said Barrow.
"The DNA believes that the incorporation of this tax into the new health care bill will send an important message to the public that this is unsafe behavior, just like smoking," said Victoria Elliott, executive director of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association. "But beyond the tax, accurate information must be provided to indoor tanning consumers regarding appropriate protection from the sun and artificial light, and the best ways to prevent skin cancer," she said.
The Dermatology Nurses' Association (DNA) is a professional nursing organization committed to quality care through sharing knowledge and expertise. Since its inception in 1983, the DNA has grown to over 3,000 members, including nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical and vocation nurses, medical assistants and physician assistants, all with an interest in the practice of dermatology nursing.
SunAWARE is a not-for-profit educational advocate for the prevention and detection of skin cancer. The SunAWARE acronym is an easy-to-remember step-by-step guide for the prevention and detection of skin cancer.