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California Outlaws Indoor Tanning for Minors

”]This week, California became the first state to enact legislation banning indoor tanning for anyone under age 18. Three other states—New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—are considering similar laws. Senator Ted W. Lieu of Torrance, CA, commented on the new law:

“I praise Governor [Jerry] Brown for his courage in taking this much-needed step to protect some of California’s most vulnerable residents – our kids – from what the ‘House of Medicine’ has conclusively shown is lethally dangerous: ultraviolet-emitting radiation from tanning beds,” said Lieu, D-Torrance.  “If everyone knew the true dangers of tanning beds, they’d be shocked. Skin cancer is a rising epidemic and the leading cause of cancer death for women between 25 and 29.”  [italics added by blogger]

Physicians are also happy with California’s stand on indoor tanning. One of the nation’s top dermatology organizations released the following statement:

“The American Academy of Dermatology Association applauds the state of California for being the first in the nation to prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices for all children and adolescents under the age of 18 — the most restrictive law in the country,” said dermatologist Ronald L. Moy, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. “We commend Gov. Brown, Sen. Ted Lieu and the other members of the California legislature for their efforts to help reduce the future incidence of skin cancer by protecting youth from the dangers of indoor tanning.”

No doubt, some folks will consider this measure overkill. In the United States, 30 million people use tanning beds…of those, 2.3 million are teenagers. They either don’t recognize the danger, or choose to ignore experts’ advice. According to an article in The New York Times, people who have ever tanned indoors—even once—have a 75 percent higher risk of developing deadly melanoma than people who have never been in a tanning bed. And a World Health Organization study showed that using a tanning bed just once increases an individual’s risk of melanoma by 15 percent. According to Senator Lieu:

“One reason we wanted to ban it for children under 18 is because the medical evidence shows that the more exposure you get to UV rays early on, the worse it is later in life,” he said. “Melanoma doesn’t happen right when you walk out of the tanning salon. It happens years later.”

In North Carolina, the laws about indoor tanning are more lax:  No one under age 13 is allowed indoor tanning (unless medically necessary), and teens ages 13 to 17 can tan indoors if they have parental permission. All of us at HensonFuerst are devoted to promoting health. The information is out there…and the information is scary. Indoor tanning is something everyone does at their own risk.

RESOURCES

To read the article in The New York Times, click here:  California Bans Indoor Tanning for Minors

To read the press release about the California law, click here:  Gov. Brown signs bill

To read the press release from the American Academy of Dermatology Association, click here:  AADA commends California
To read a summary of medical research about the dangers of indoor tanning, click here:  Indoor Tanning and Risk of Melanoma
To read the summary of medical research from the International Journal of Cancer:  The Association of Use of Sunbeds with Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma

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