On Aug. 31, ETSU was officially designated as an Indoor Tan-Free Skin Smart Campus thanks to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.

This Skin Smart initiative hopes to help educate, protect and spread awareness for skin diseases due to indoor sun tanning and overexposure to the sun.

ETSU is the first higher education institution in the U.S. to take action in terms of skin protection.

According to the new policy, which can be found on ETSU’s website, indoor tanning is common among adolescents and young adults. Of those young adults, 37 percent of white adolescent females and 11 percent of white adolescent males have used indoor tanning facilities at least once in their lifetime.

Some examples of skin diseases that can be caused by indoor tanning and overexposure to the sun are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. Melanoma commonly affects young adults ages 15-29.

Many large universities throughout the U.S. have tanning facilities on campus. This policy doesn’t mean students attending ETSU are not allowed to tan indoors; however, this policy does state that indoor tanning facilities are now prohibited in campus buildings (gyms, student centers, dormitories, etc.) and the university will not support or advertise for facilities off campus.

Katie Baker and Joel Hillhouse from the College of Public Health took the lead on this initiative and find it incredibly exciting that ETSU is the first school in the country to receive this designation.

Baker said the ultimate goal is to protect not only students, but faculty and staff. The link between young adults using tanning beds and being diagnosed with skin disease is undeniable.

Reactions from students to this newly established policy are positive.

“I think it shows that ETSU cares about their students,” said sophomore Averi Thomas. “I didn’t know that schools cared about indoor tanning, but it’s nice that ETSU is trying to spread awareness among students.”

Sophomore Carleigh Zimmerman believes this policy was a huge step forward for ETSU.

“People don’t realize how susceptible people our age are to skin disease,” she said.

Those who have questions, concerns or comments can go to  www.etsu.edu/cph/skin-smart/ to provide feedback.