Skip to main content
Tanning bed burns reported on Twitter: over 15,000 in 2013
Open Access Articles
  • Andrew B. Seidenberg, University of North Carolina
  • Sherry L. Pagoto, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Theodore A. Vickey, National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Eleni Linos, University of California - San Francisco
  • Mackenzie R. Wehner, University of Pennsylvania
  • Renata Dalla Costa, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Alan C. Geller, Harvard School of Public Health
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center
Document Type
Few surveillance tools exist for monitoring tanning bed injuries. Twitter data were examined to identify and describe reports of tanning bed-caused burns. Tweets sent in 2013 containing keywords for tanning bed use and burning were content analyzed to determine whether a burn caused by a tanning bed was described, and additional data on tanning behavior and burn characteristics were extracted. After content assessment, 15,178 (64 %) tweets were found to describe a tanning bed-caused burn. Sites most reportedly burnt were buttocks (n = 3117), face/head (n = 1020), and chest/breast (n = 546). Alarmingly, 200 burns to the eyes/eyelids were mentioned. A total of 456 tweets described burning > 1 time from a tanning bed. A total of 211 tweets mentioned falling asleep inside the tanning bed. In 2013, over 15,000 tweets reported tanning bed-caused burns. Twitter data provides unique insight into tanning behaviors and injuries not captured through traditional public health surveillance.
Rights and Permissions
Citation: Transl Behav Med. 2016 Jun;6(2):271-6. doi: 10.1007/s13142-016-0388-6. Link to article on publisher's site
DOI of Published Version
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
  • Burns,
  • Social media,
  • Surveillance,
  • Tanning beds
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Andrew B. Seidenberg, Sherry L. Pagoto, Theodore A. Vickey, Eleni Linos, et al.. "Tanning bed burns reported on Twitter: over 15,000 in 2013" Vol. 6 Iss. 2 (2016) ISSN: 1613-9860 (Linking)
Available at: