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New California Law Bans Teens’ From Using Indoor Tanning

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Cancer related image Photo: Getty Images

California may be called the Golden State, but most of the state’s 9.5 million teens wanting that sun-kissed glow are going to have to achieve it the old-fashioned way. Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 746 into law on Oct. 9, 2011, banning minors from using ultra-violet indoor tanning devices, the first state law of its kind.

The new law also mandates anyone using indoor tanning beds, where customers typically lie down under ultraviolet lights for up to 20 minutes per visit, to sign a written statement acknowledging he or she has read and understands the risks involved. The signed statements are to be renewed on an annual basis.

Ohio, Rhode Island, Illinois and New York are considering similar laws and at least 30 states now have some age restrictions on tanning bed use. It was one of 600 bills Brown had been reviewing over the past several weeks, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. The governor had until midnight Sunday to sign, veto or allow the pending bills to take effect.

The new sun bed law won’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2012. Until then current state law applies. It allows teens, ages 14-18, to use commercial tanning beds with a parent’s consent. The new indoor tanning law eliminates the parental consent option.

California state Sen. Ted Lieu introduced the measure to prevent young people from increasing their risk to melanoma skin cancer. He pointed out to the Associated Press that the number of California tanning salons now outnumber Starbucks and McDonald's.

A study by researchers at Stanford, the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, and University of California San Francisco, published in the Archives of Dermatology is just one of many studies that points to an correlation between sunbed use and skin cancer.

Using data from the California Cancer Registry, the study found the number of new melanoma diagnoses, the most deadly form of skin cancer, grew the fastest among young females, one of the biggest consumers of indoor tanning.

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