TRENTON – On Monday, a state Senate committee approved a bill that would increase restrictions on the use of tanning facilities by New Jersey teens.
The bipartisan tanning bill, S-1172, places tighter restrictions on 16 and 17 year olds years using tanning facilities in New Jersey, requiring parents to purchase the tanning services for the children and prohibiting tanning on consecutive days. The bill also completely prohibits 14 and 15 year olds from using the beds.
“Studies continue to prove children and young teens are the most-vulnerable to the life-threatening risks of skin cancer,” said state Sen. Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean). “This age-restriction, consistent with action by other states, protects our children from the potential health hazards of the habit of tanning, much like we have in place for cigarettes and alcohol.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), teens should be banned from tanning beds due to the serious risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. About 8,700 people died of melanoma last year. Since 1992 the cancer has been increasing by three percent each year in women between the ages of 15 and 39.
More than 30 states already have tanning regulations in place for minors, and some have banned children younger than 14 or require parental permission. States including Illinois and New York, are considering legislation to ban all minors from indoor tanning.
“It is important to also note that the health consequences of tanning have been shown to have little impact on teen behavior when it comes to sun or UVA rays exposure,” Singer added.
Statistics released last month by the American Cancer Society reveal a 43 percent increase in melanoma cases in New Jersey to an annual rate of 21.4 incidents per 100,000 residents, with the World Health Organization establishing that ultraviolet-emitting tanning devices provide the greatest cancer risk.
“I am confident the Senate will pass this legislation as we did last session, because each day of legislative inaction increases the chances for cancer to sew its destructive seed in another New Jersey youth,” Singer concluded.
Last month, the Assembly passed counterpart A-2142.
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