Statewide Sunscreen Dispenser Program

May 30, 2024 by Hanna Snyder, Kate Strotmeyer

Sunscreen dispenser at Centennial Field (Burlington, Vermont)

Sun Safety is in Your Hands – Statewide Sunscreen Dispenser Program Adds 16 Sites

Coalition of health groups team up with recreation sites to combat high rates of skin cancer.

If you are among those who didn’t bring sunscreen when enjoying the outdoors at a Vermont park or recreation site, we’ve got you covered! Vermont’s cancer coalition (VTAAC), Dartmouth Cancer Center, University of Vermont (UVM) Cancer Center and national non-profit IMPACT Melanoma are expanding a program that stationed free sunscreen dispensers at 12 parks around the state last year. With the addition of 16 new dispenser sites, even more people will have access to free sunscreen and the protection it provides against over exposure to the sun.

Vermont has the nation’s second-highest incidence rate of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. According to the Vermont Department of Health, exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or tanning beds is a major risk factor for developing melanoma.

“Prevention is the key to avoiding this deadly form of cancer,” said Sharon Mallory, director of the Health Department’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. “Even on cloudy or cool days ultraviolet rays can be harmful, so it’s important to protect your skin with a sunblock that’s labeled SPF 30 or higher,” said Mallory. “These dispensers provide free and easy to access sunscreen for everyone, which means you don’t have to worry that you left yours at home.”

“To put it simply, sun safety is literally in our hands,” said Hanna Snyder, coalition coordinator of VTAAC, which oversees the dispenser program. “Our goal is to meet people where they are. And not just with sunscreen, but to also make sure Vermonters have the information they need to understand sun safety, the risk exposure presents for cancer, and the actions they can take to keep themselves and their family safe outdoors,” Snyder said.

Each site will receive a sunscreen dispenser and a start-up supply of sunscreen through this program. Sites also implement additional sun safety programming, such as education through posters, social media, and outdoor swim instruction.

The convenience of sunscreen access can make an important difference, especially among young people. Any sunburn increases your risk of developing melanoma.

Experts advise that the best way to protect yourself from UV rays while still enjoying the warm weather is to use sunscreen, seek shade during the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest, and to cover up with clothing, hats and UV-blocking sunglasses.

“We are so fortunate to have partners like the State of Vermont and our friends at VTAAC, the UVM Cancer Center and the Dartmouth Cancer Center in making cancer prevention accessible to everyone,” said Deb Girard, executive director of IMPACT Melanoma.

View 2024 Sunscreen Dispenser Sites