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.