• Open Access

Solarium use in Australia, recent trends and context


Correspondence to:
Suzanne Dobbinson, Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Council Victoria, 1 Rathdowne Street, Carlton Vic 3053. Fax: (03) 9635 5380; e-mail: Suzanne.Dobbinson@cancervic.org.au


Objectives: To describe the prevalence of solarium use among representative samples of Australian adolescents (12–17 years) and adults (18–69 years).

Methods: In national surveys conducted in 2003/04 and 2006/07 using equivalent methods, n=11,509 Australian adolescents and adults self-reported their use of solaria.

Results: In 2006/07 10.6% of adults had ‘ever’ used a solarium, and use was most prevalent among women aged 18 to 24 (17.1%) and 25 to 44 (20.7%). Few adolescents (2.5%) had ever used a solarium. The prevalence of past year use was much lower (0.6% of adolescents, 1.5% of adults) and there was a significant reduction among adults between surveys (OR=0.69, 95% CI=0.52–0.94). Adults’ attitudes related to past year solarium use were preference for a suntan (OR=4.68, 95% CI=2.48–8.85); perceived protan attitudes of peers (OR=2.10, 95% CI=1.17–3.77), belief that a suntan looks healthy (OR=1.92, 95% CI=1.09–3.39); and perceiving they have some risk of getting skin cancer (OR=1.69, 95% CI=1.03–2.78).

Conclusions and implications: Although solarium use in Australia is relatively low, it is highest among young adult women. These data show encouraging downward trends in use, and provide a foundation for monitoring the impact of forthcoming regulatory changes to the solarium industry.