New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a legislation Monday banning children under 17 years from using a tanning bed and children less than 14 years from using a tanning spray, a move that came a year after a local woman allegedly took her five-year-old daughter to a tanning booth.
The law was prepared to ensure the safety of the minors after a northern Jersey woman was charged with child endangerment for taking her minor daughter to a tanning booth. The deeply tanned woman had become a tabloid sensation and was named the “Tanning Mom.”
Christie said that while he does not favor government regulation of small business, he was concerned about the safety of minors, Reuters reported.
"Governmental regulation of the private sector should always be carefully scrutinized, and sparingly adopted," he said in a statement. "The new restrictions imposed by this bill followed a single but breathlessly reported incident of a parent bringing a minor child into a tanning facility."
According to the new law, the 17-year-olds can use tanning salons if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian during their initial consultation with a tanning salon. The law bans children under 14 years from using tanning sprays in the tanning booth or elsewhere.
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Patricia Krentcil of Nutley, New Jersey, had created a stir after her daughter showed up at school with sunburn marks. She was arrested in April 2012 for allegedly exposing the five-year-old to a tanning session.
However, Krentcil denied of taking the child to the tanning booth, but did agree that she got her deep chocolate tan after spending hours under the intense ultra-violet light of a tanning bed and out in the sun, Reuters reported.
A grand jury in February declined to indict Krentcil on charges of endangering the welfare of a child.
New Jersey has already had regulations that prevented children under 14 from getting tanned artificially with commercial tanning devices as the ultra violet rays used for tanning increased cancer and melanoma risk.
However, the American Suntanning Association said the ban on tanning beds is disappointing, claiming it might drive teens to riskier alternatives like home units and beaches.
“When evaluating risks, the World Health Organization recognizes sunbeds and sunlight in the same category. Just as parents have guided their children to avoid sunburn while enjoying days at the beach or playing little league the same should be the case for sun beds…, New Jersey has let hysteria supersede the balance between parental rights and effective policy. Blanket bans do not respect the balanced truth about UV exposure,” Association said in a statement.