Introduction: The incidence of melanoma has been increasing worldwide. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and sunbeds are the major risk factors for the development of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Excessive UV exposure during childhood and adolescence increases the probablity of skin cancer in adulthood. The objective of this study was to analyze the exposure to artificial UV radiation using sunbeds among Belgrade high school students.
Material and Methods: The study was conducted using a questionnaire among 549 3rd and 4th grade students in 4 Belgrade high schools. The questionnaire included 10 questions on the sunbed use, attitudes, and general knowledge about effects of UV radiation from sunbeds. Statistical analysis assessed the frequency rate and relative frequency as methods of descriptive statistics.
Results: A total of 39% of participants had used a sunbed at least once, and 38% plan on using it in the future. When asked at what age they first used a sunbed, 45.66% of high school students stated that it was at the age of 13 or 14. Most adolescents have used a sunbed less than 5 times (38%), whereas 8% of them used it over 30 times.
Conclusion: The awareness of the risks associated with UV exposure in sunbeds is not at a satisfying level among Belgrade high school students. Educational and legislative measures are necessary to protect this highly sensitive population and prevent malignant consequences.