45% fall in Australian teens seeking a tan

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New research from The Cancer Council, Australia has shown a big fall in the number of teens deliberately tanning, down 45 per cent over the past three years. Yet despite the promising trend, almost a quarter of teens are still getting sunburnt over a typical summer weekend.

The Cancer Council Australia’s CEO, Professor Ian Olver, said results from the National Sun Protection Survey showed there had been a “remarkable turnaround” in attitudes to tanning.

“On one hand this is very encouraging, however the bad news is one in four teenagers is still getting burnt, not because they want to get a tan but because they are forgetting to protect themselves,” he said. “In contrast adults are clearly putting SunSmart behaviour into practice with a 31 per cent fall in adults reporting they were sunburnt since the last survey in 2004.”

Professor Olver said recent advertising campaigns were clearly having an impact, but an ongoing summer campaign was essential to reduce skin cancer death rates, which “rival the annual road toll.”

The National Sun Survey of 5085 adults and 652 teenagers around Australia also found:

– Girls were more likely to deliberately tan (29%) compared to boys (15%), however boys were more likely to get sunburnt (28%) than girls (19%), as more boys spent time outside in peak UV times and were less likely to use sunscreen
– 14% of Australian adults aged 18-69 (1.8 million) and 24% of adolescents aged 12-17 (397,000) were sunburnt on an average summer weekend in 2006/7.

Chair of the Cancer Council’s National Skin Cancer Committee Mr Craig Sinclair said the research showed the Australian Government’s national skin cancer awareness campaign encouraged life-saving behaviours and should be run every summer.

Source: SunSmart, Australia

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