Indoor Tanning Devices Will Have New Warnings

Tanning bed and sun lamp warnings becoming stricter under new FDA regulations

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Many young people strive for tan skin, but this quest could put them at a risk for cancer. Health officials announced changes to how indoor tanning devices are regulated.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that certain indoor tanning devices will now be classified as higher-risk products. That classification means these products will carry stricter warnings and have tighter marketing regulations.

Sunlamps and ultraviolet (UV) lamps will be required to carry a warning stating that people under the age of 18 should not use the device.

"Learn about the risks of indoor tanning."

The FDA announced May 29 that sunlamp products and UV lamps will no longer be classified as "low-risk" devices, and will now be considered "moderate-risk" devices subject to stricter warnings and regulations.

These indoor tanning devices will now be required to have visible warnings — called "black-box warnings" — that state the devices should not be used by people under the age of 18.

Manufacturers of the devices will also face new marketing regulations, as FDA is requiring specific warning statements in the marketing of the products and will review marketing materials before they reach consumers. Manufacturers of some devices will be required to state that people "repeatedly exposed to UV radiation should be regularly evaluated for skin cancer.”

According to the FDA, "Manufacturers also will now have to show that their products meet certain performance testing requirements and address certain product design characteristics, and will have to include certain warnings and contraindications on sunlamp products and in certain marketing materials for sunlamp products and UV lamps that present consumers with clear information on the risks of use."

Indoor tanning exposes user to two types of UV rays in an effort to make skin more tan. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indoor tanning has been tied to various skin and eye cancers, including melanoma. CDC noted that the practice has been found to be especially dangerous for younger users.

"In the United States, indoor tanning is thought to cause about 419,000 cases of skin cancer every year," said CDC. "For comparison, smoking is thought to cause about 226,000 cases of lung cancer every year."

In an announcement from the FDA, Jeffrey Shuren, MD, Director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said that the newly announced changes are a step in the right direction.

“The FDA has taken an important step today to address the risk to public health from sunlamp products,” said Dr. Shuren. “Repeated UV exposure from sunlamp products poses a risk of skin cancer for all users — but the highest risk for skin cancer is in young persons under the age of 18 and people with a family history of skin cancer.”

Review Date: 
May 30, 2014
Last Updated:
June 1, 2014