Teens continue to visit tanning salons despite being aware of the
dangers, a study released today reveals. The study was conducted by
Beachwood High School marketing students on behalf of the office of
Bryan J. Michelow, MD FACS, a Beachwood, Ohio-based, board-certified
The results of the study regarding teenage
attitudes toward tanning beds reveal that 33 percent of the 55 teenagers
interviewed admitted to being aware of the dangers of ultra violet
light in tanning salons, yet they continued to visit them.
results of these focus groups reveal that kids are hearing the message
about the link between skin cancer and tanning beds but choosing not to
listen,” says Dr. Michelow, who commissioned this study after he had
seen a leap in the number of deadly melanomas and basal cell cancers in
young adults. “Young people don’t realize that the foundation for
healthy skin is laid down early in life. Melanomas can appear in adults
as early as their mid-20s. Melanoma can be fatal and basal cell cancers
can be disfiguring, requiring a great deal of reconstruction,” adds Dr.
Michelow, who repairs the damage to the face, skin and limbs following
excision of cancerous lesions.
Dr. Michelow hopes to use the
results of the study and the marketing strategies recommended by the
Beachwood High School seniors to inform teenagers and their parents
about the importance of maintaining skin health.
High School students recommended a tipping point approach to educating
teens about healthy skin. Their research suggested that teenagers are
highly influenced by their peer group and long to fit in to these
groups. They recommended a marketing and advertising campaign based on
teenagers desire to be accepted and been seen as cool.
High School’s marketing class is taught by Mrs. Jean Getz. Her
college-level class, is part of the Mayfield Excel TECC Consortium, a
unique collaborative educational effort among six east-side school
districts. Each year, students present a client with a complete
marketing package that includes market research, a SWOT analysis, and
recommendations for an integrated marketing plan to promote the product
Dr. Michelow’s practice engaged Mrs. Getz’s
marketing class at Beachwood High School to explore extending
preventative skincare services to teenagers.
“The students did a
wonderful job,” said Dr. Michelow. “We learned that teens are hearing
the message about healthy skin but they are not necessarily listening.
Mrs. Getz and her class helped us understand the teen thought process
when it comes to skincare and what was important to them in product and
This collaboration was mutually beneficial. Jason
Edwards, company and class president said, “The opportunity to work with
Contemporary Cosmetic Surgery was a great experience. We were able to
not only work with a paying client but also to apply what was learned in
the classroom in a real-world setting, by generating focus groups,
conducting primary and secondary research and creating ads.”
Popish, another senior, agreed. “I had a lot of fun working with
Contemporary Cosmetic Surgery," she said. " I learned how to gather
information, perform focus groups and design advertising.”
study’s findings are of particular relevance as Ohio State
Representative Lorraine Fende (D) District 62 (Willowick) and
Representative Courtney Combs co-sponsored Ohio State House Bill 119,
requiring a physician’s prescription for teenagers under the age of 18
who would like to use tanning booths. Currently a teenager less than 18
years old must present a parent or guardian’s signature to the tanning
salon prior to being allowed to use the Ultra Violet (UV) beds.
number of skin cancer cases in the United States has increased from
500,000 in 1991 to 3.5 million per year. Experts say that 20 minutes in
a tanning bed is the equivalent of basking in two-three hours of midday
sun. Eighty percent of the damage to the skin is caused prior to age
Should House Bill 119 pass and become law, it will be the
most stringent in the nation. Lobbyists such as the Indoor Tanning
Association are vigorously opposing the bill. Teenagers under the age
of 18 comprise 10 percent of tanning salon customers. Barring them from
using the tanning beds would take a big bite out of tanning salon
earnings, which are already lean. A similar bill, regulating teen use of
tanning booths by young teenagers was defeated in 2009. The Bill was
supported by Miss Ohio 2009.
Companies marketing to teenagers
face a dual challenge; raising awareness of their product, service or
message among teens, while earning the approval of the parent who still
guides their child’s purchasing decisions. Last year’s marketing class
worked with Doner Advertising, the world’s largest private advertising
agency, to perform market research for Doner’s clients, Things
Remembered and Arby’s Restaurant.