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Law Bans Indoor Tanning for Teens Under 17‎

Update Date: Jul 16, 2012 03:17 PM EDT

By mid-August, most teenagers will need parental consent to go tanning. Govenor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that would make it illegal for children under the age of 17 to use indoor tanning devices. Teenagers between the ages of 17 and 18 will need to obtain parental consent. Before Cuomo's signing, children as young as 14 could use UV radiation devices with parental consent.

Currently California bans the use of tanning beds for all minors under 18, and at least 31 states regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors. Some counties also regulate the use of tanning devices, including Howard County, Maryland, which is the first local jurisdiction to ban indoor tanning for all minors under age 18. 

"Exposure to UV radiation can be extremely harmful, particularly for younger people, and this new law will help protect teenagers from the heightened risk of skin cancer that can come from using indoor tanning devices," Cuomo said. "This legislation recognizes that many tanning salons are small businesses facing economic challenges, however, protecting our children must always be our first priority. I thank Senator Fuschillo and Assembly Member Weisenberg for their hard work on this legislation."

The new legislation comes after the Food and Drug Administration said it was "particularly concerned about children and teens being exposed to UV rays." The FDA said 68,000 people in the United States will learn they have skin cancer this year and one out of eight will die from it.

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo applauded Cuomo for signing the bill.

"Research has shown that indoor UV tanning can be potentially dangerous, Fuschillo said. "It greatly increases the risk of developing skin cancer and exposes skin to UV radiation that is far more intense than what the sun produces. This new law will help protect children from something that can cause them serious health problems later in life"

In May, the Indoor Tanning Association released a statement regarding the new restrictions.

"Proponents of these laws always exaggerate the risks of exposure to ultraviolet light in order to get the attention of the public, the media and the government," the statement said. It is a fact that ultraviolet light from a sunbed is the same as that from the sun and regular moderate non-burning exposure is essential for good health. You also have to consider the health risks associated with banning teenagers from using tanning salons. They will just go outside with no adult supervision and no trained staff where they are much more likely to get sunburned.

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