Youth access to indoor tanning salons in urban versus rural/suburban communities

UMMS Affiliation

UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center; Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dermatology | Preventive Medicine | Public Health | Skin and Connective Tissue Diseases


BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Research suggests that youth proximity to tanning salons may promote use; however, little is known about tanning salon proximity to schools. We assessed the proximity of tanning salons to schools in urban versus rural/suburban communities across Worcester County, Massachusetts (population > 800K). To put findings in context, we compared school proximity to tanning salons to school proximity to McDonald's restaurants, a large franchise that also caters to young people.

MATERIALS and METHODS: Accessibility was measured by ArcGIS 10.2 Network Analyzer (ESRI, Redlands, CA, USA) and the most current road network data layer from Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

RESULTS: A total of 145 schools were observed in the study area, of which about 39% of schools were within 1 mile from a tanning salon. Urban schools (53.41%) had a higher proportion within 1 mile of a tanning salon than rural/suburban schools (17.54%; P < .001). More schools (39.31%) were within 1 mile of a tanning salon than schools within 1 mile of a McDonald's (22.70%; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Schools may be particularly impactful for implementing skin cancer prevention programing.


communities, geographic information systems, high schools, indoor tanning, skin cancer

DOI of Published Version



Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2018 Mar;34(2):112-116. doi: 10.1111/phpp.12364. Epub 2017 Dec 12. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Photodermatology, photoimmunology and photomedicine

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID