After January 1, 2012 all teens in California under the age of 18 will be banned from using tanning beds in that state due to a new law signed by California Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday.
According to the Indoor Tanning Association studies have shown that teens under 18 make up 5% to 10% of tanning-bed users nationally.
Effective immediately all teens under 14 will be immediately banned from the beds. Teens 15 to 17 will be able to use the tanning beds with parental permission until the law goes into effect in January.
Once the tanning bed laws in California go into effect all teens under the 18 will no longer be able to use the beds and will be required to go the natural route for that beach-bronzed look.
Governor Brown signed the new tanning provision into law, the first state law of its kind.
Other states, including New York, Illinois, Rhode Island and Ohio are considering similar measures, and at least 30 states now have at least some age restrictions — covering younger teens — on tanning bed use.
Attempts To Decrease Development Of Melanoma In Young Woman 20 to 29
Many in the state of California are lauding the passage of the tanning bed law because of the increased risk of developing melanoma, a particularly deadly form of skin cancer, that is tied directly to frequent and early exposure to UV rays which are used by tanning beds.
The deadly melanoma kills one in eight patients. It's the second most common type of cancer in U.S. women aged 20 to 29.
Dr. Ron Kaczmarek, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration epidemiologist says "Young people may not think they are vulnerable to skin cancer." He noted "They have difficulty thinking about their own mortality." Dr. Kacqmzrek has reviewed several studies on the topic by the National Cancer Institute.
Tanning Salons Outnumber Starbucks Or McDonalds In LA County
State Sen. Ted Lieu who introduced the bill noted that tanning salons outnumber Starbucks or McDonald's in Los Angeles County. Lieu said that teen girls may be particularly susceptible to the lure of tanning in California, where in many communities, having a sun-kissed glow is considered beautiful.
Christina Clarke, a spokesperson for the Cancer Prevention Institute of California said in a statement "Girls in affluent California communities especially are surrounded by the message that being tanned all year round is cool. Pop music star Katy Perry is even singing about it."
There are 50,000 licensed tanning salons currently operating in the United States, which receive 1 million visitors per day, 70% of whom are girls and women.
Tanning Salons Don't Safeguard Youngest Customers
Left to their own devices, tanning salons aren't likely to keep their youngest customers safe, at least according to a 2009 study sponsored by NCI and published in the Archives of Dermatology.
As part of the study, researchers trained female college students to pose as fair-skinned, 15-year-old first-time tanners in phone consultations with 3,600 tanning salons in 50 states.They found that fewer than 11% of the salons adhered to government recommendations on sunlamp exposure, which limits tanning to no more than three sessions in the first week; 71% of the salons said they would allow tanning every day for the first week and many promoted frequent tanning with "unlimited tanning" discount price packages.