California teens are no longer allowed to use tanning beds after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Sunday prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 from using ultraviolet tanning devices.
The bill was part of a cluster of legislation signed on Sunday designed to improve the health and well-being of Californians, according to a statement from the Governor's office.
California is the first state in the nation to ban minors from using tanning beds, according to reports.
I praise Gov. 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 Ted Lieu state Senator and the bill's sponsor, in a statement.
Previously, California had banned minors under the age of 14 from using tanning beds, but allowed those between 14 and 18 years of age to use tanning beds with parental consent.
The Skin Cancer Foundation is working to have the state of New York ban minors from using tanning beds. So far, the bill has passed the State Assembly but has not yet made it to the State Senate, according to the foundation.
According to the National Cancer Institute, each year, more than 68,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma, and another 48,000 are diagnosed with an early form of the disease that involves only the top layer of skin.
Five Major Health Risks Associated With Tanning:
- Sunlight: UV radiation from sunlight is the most important risk factor for any type of skin damage that can ultimately lead to cancer.
- Severe, blistering sunburns: People who have had at least one severe, blistering sunburn are at increased risk of skin cancer.
- Lifetime sun exposure: The total amount of sun exposure over a lifetime is a risk factor for skin cancer.
- Tanning: Although a tan slightly lowers the risk of sunburn, even people who tan well without sunburning have a higher risk of skin cancer because of more lifetime sun exposure.
- Skin that burns easily: Having fair skin that burns in the sun easily, blue or gray eyes, red or blond hair, increases the risk of skin cancer.
Tanning by minors is a dangerous trend that has contributed to melanoma becoming the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15-29 years old, the foundation says on its Web site.
Skin cancer can affect both men and women, and having scars or skin ulcers increases a person's risk, according to the NCI.
Several health organizations are working to ban minors from using tanning beds in other states.
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.
The law will reportedly go into effect on January 1, 2012.