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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
Publication Date
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.
  • Burns,
  • Social media,
  • Surveillance,
  • Tanning beds
DOI of Published Version
Transl Behav Med. 2016 Jun;6(2):271-6. doi: 10.1007/s13142-016-0388-6. Link to article on publisher's site
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
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)
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