To compare the indoor tanning attitudes and practices of dermatologists with physicians in other medical specialties (internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine) commonly providing sun safety counseling to patients.
Questionnaire mailed to randomly selected US dermatologists, internists, family practitioners, and pediatricians.
The overall response rate was 38% (364/949): 71% indicated that patients had asked their opinions about indoor UV tanning, 80% believed that UV tanning was unsafe, and 90% agreed they would counsel patients against nonmedical indoor UV tanning. Many supported increased UV tanning legislation, including minimum age restrictions (91%) and parental consent requirements (90%). Dermatologists were significantly more likely than other physicians to respond to the survey (52% vs 31%, P<.001), speak with patients about indoor UV tanning (odds ratio [OR], 26.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 9.5-74.1]), believe that indoor UV tanning is unsafe (OR, 14.0; 95% CI, 5.0-39.4), and support increased regulation (OR, 11.7; 95% CI, 1.5-88.5). Women discouraged indoor UV tanning more than men (OR, 5.2; 95% CI, 1.8-15.2). Physicians who had used indoor UV tanning (19%) more often agreed that non-UV tanning lotion (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.1-3.8) and airbrush tanning (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1-3.4) were safe but did not differ in attitudes regarding UV tanning safety. Physicians practicing in the Northeast and Midwest were more likely to support UV tanning to improve mood (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.1-3.5) and more commonly believed that UV tanning could help treat depression (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.5-4.6) or prevent vitamin D deficiency (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0-2.8).
Physicians, especially dermatologists, are frequently asked about and generally discourage indoor UV tanning. Dermatologists regard indoor UV tanning more negatively compared with other physicians. Physician sex and geographic location were associated with specific indoor UV tanning attitudes.