Bad Lighting: Effects of Youth Indoor Tanning Prohibitions
Indoor tanning beds (ITBs) emit UV light at high intensity and have been classified as carcinogenic to humans by the World Health Organization since 2009. We are the first to study the role of state laws prohibiting youths from indoor tanning using a difference-in-differences research design. We find that youth ITB prohibitions reduced population search intensity for tanning-related information. Among white teen girls, ITB prohibitions reduced self-reported indoor tanning and increased sun protective behaviors. We also find that youth ITB prohibitions significantly reduced the size of the indoor tanning market by increasing tanning salon closures and reducing tanning salon sales.
Carpenter is E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, firstname.lastname@example.org. Churchill is a Research Assistant Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University, email@example.com. Marcus is Assistant Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University and Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, firstname.lastname@example.org. We are grateful to Aaron Gamino, Kristoffer Jackson, Jennifer Nguyen, and Jesus Ulloa for valuable research assistance on earlier versions of this project. Mika Hamer, Natalie Malak, and seminar and conference participants at the 19th Annual Canadian Health Economics Study Group, the 2021 ASHEcon virtual conference, the Virtual Essen Health Economics seminar, Atlanta Fed, Ball State University, Claremont Graduate University, Georgia State University, Tulane University, Wharton, and Vanderbilt University provided helpful comments. Some of the results in this paper are based on restricted-use and/or proprietary data. Readers interested in obtaining access can contact the authors. We thank Don Walls for answering questions about the NETS data. Carpenter and Marcus gratefully acknowledge funding from the American Cancer Society grant #133789-RSGI-19-193-01-CPHPS. Results do not imply their endorsement. All errors are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.