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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Exposure to indoor tanning in France: a population based study

Tarik Benmarhnia, Christophe Léon and François Beck*

Author Affiliations

National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES), 42, Bld de la Libération, St Denis Cedex 93203, France

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BMC Dermatology 2013, 13:6  doi:10.1186/1471-5945-13-6

Published: 23 April 2013



Tanning lamp sessions have increased in Europe in recent years. Recent epidemiological studies have confirmed a proven link between melanoma and artificial UV exposure. However, in France, little information is available to determine the exposure of the population. This article presents the results from the ‘Baromètre cancer 2010’ concerning the proportion of users exposed to artificial UV radiation in France, their characteristics and level of information on the risks associated.


A two stage random sampling telephone survey assisted by CATI system (household, individual) was performed from 3 April 2010 to 7 August 2010 on a sample of 3,359 people aged 15 to 75 years old.


In 2010, 13.4% of the French population reported to have tanning lamp sessions at least once in their lifetime and 3.5% of the total population reported the use of artificial UV radiation over the last twelve months. Exposure over the last twelve months is most commonly seen among females (5.0%) and young population between 20–25 years old (9.6%). In addition, 3.5% of those under 18 years report having attended UV booths at least once during their lifetime even though they are forbidden to minors. Moreover, more than one the third of users reported more than 10 exposures within a year. The places of exposure cited most often were beauty salons (50%) and tanning centers (46%). Only 49.2% of those surveyed felt that they were well informed on the risks of cancer associated with UV booths. Furthermore, the population was found to have misconceptions about artificial UV radiation. One quarter of the population, believe that artificial UV radiation use before vacation protects the skin from sunburn.


This first study on artificial UV radiation exposure in France has better quantified and characterized the users. It has also defined the state of knowledge and the perception of risk by the general French population. This work will contribute to determine actions of prevention to reduce cancer risk related to artificial UV radiation.

Artificial UV radiation; Survey; Random sampling; Exposure; Opinions; Knowledge; Beliefs