NJ Senate Passes Teen Tanning Bill

State Sen. Robert Singer

State Sen. Robert Singer

TRENTON — The state Senate passed bipartisan legislation that would restrict the ability of young people to use spray tanning and tanning beds at tanning facilities.

The legislation, S-1172, would prohibit minors younger than 14 from spray tanning and those younger than 17 from using tanning beds in tanning facilities. Seventeen-year-olds could use tanning beds only if a parent or guardian is present at the tanning facility for initial consultation.

“Tanning can be habit-forming, and children and young teens are the most-vulnerable to the life-threatening risks of skin cancer,” said state Sen. Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean). “We hear of serious, sometimes fatal cases of skin cancer in young people in their twenties and thirties who were frequent users of artificial tanning beds as teens.”

American Cancer Society recently revealed a 43 percent increase in melanoma cases in New Jersey to an annual rate of 21.4 incidents per 100,000 residents. The World Health Organization has established that ultraviolet-emitting tanning devices provide the greatest cancer risk.

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 3% each year in women between the ages of 15 and 39.

“The age restrictions in this tanning legislation are consistent with action by other states,” Singer added.

A person who violates S-1172 faces a $100 degree penalty for a first offense and $200 for each subsequent offense. Tanning facility operators who violate are subject to $1,000 fines for first offense, $2,000 for second offense, and $2,000 with a five-day suspension of operations for each subsequent offense.

“We should not sit idly by while our melanoma rates continue to rise or kids die of skin cancer in order to pass this protective, widely supported initiative,” Singer concluded.

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2 comments for “NJ Senate Passes Teen Tanning Bill

  1. naturalmom12
    February 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I’m really curious as to how much research people actually do on their own. Tanning doesn’t cause Melanoma. Recent studies have shown that exposure to the UV lights cuts your risk of getting Melanoma.
    This is due to the Vitamin D that your body produces once its exposed to UV lights. Vitamin D has been shown to benefit the human body in many ways.
    Why even have parents anymore? It seems these days that the government has to stick their nose in everything . I feel there are far more important issues that they should be focusing on, not if my child is allowed to go in a tanning bed if they are under a certain age. When will people actually realize when you use a tanning bed in moderation, it’s actually good for your health. More than 95% of the US and Canadian population is vitamin D deficient and a big reason for this is because of the sun scare campaign created by sunscreen companies and dermatologists. Who’s making money on the back end for supporting this sun scare?! It’s come to my attention those dermatologists, sun screen companies and Government are no longer looking out for our best interests, it’s more how it benefits them. Tanning beds were created to mimic the sun and it does just that BUT it’s a much more controlled environment, especially when you use it in a controlled environment such as a tanning salon. Dermatologists use the exact same bulbs in their offices to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis. The only difference between the dermatologist’s office and a tanning salon is that the dermatologist purposely burns you to treat the disease which does indeed increase your risk for skin cancer. I hope people wake up and realize before it’s too late!

  2. mdparker
    February 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    This sounds well and good, but just like anything else, you have to try to think about unintended consequences. Ban or not, teens will continue to seek tans and they will seek out unmonitored home tanning units and unsafe habits in the natural sun. Research shows that the risk of using home tanning beds is far greater than using them in salons – presumedly because of exposure time and because salon workers are trained to not allow clients to overexpose. As much as doctors would like you to believe it, research has not shown a statistically significant correlation between tanning in salons and melanoma – only with home use and medical phototherapy. Melanoma is clearly a very sad thing, but when talking about legislation, emotion and anecdotal evidence must be put to the side. Unfortunately, a very small percentage of young people have always gotten melanoma, and continue to. But melanoma in young people is not on the rise according to National Cancer Institute data, the largest registry of such data in North America. (http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2009_pops09/browse_csr.php?section=16&page=sect_16_zfig.03.html)

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