The state of Maryland has initiated new legislation to protect minors from melanoma that prohibits teens from using any type of tanning facilities, and prohibits tanning bed companies to market directly to this market segment.
The legislation is based on scientific evidence that indoor tanning before the age of 30 is undeniably linked to an increased risk of developing skin cancer, and health organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the American Cancer Society, the Center for a Healthy Maryland, and dermatology professionals are in firm support of this new direction.
Senator James Robey and Delegate William A. Bronrott represent a broad-based coalition of 20 legislators in the Senate and House, and Senator Robey is the originating sponsor of Senate Bill 718. He stated, “My district of Howard County, MD, has already led the nation in teen and adolescent safeguards from the well documented cancer risks and irreversible skin damage caused by the UV-radiation of indoor tanning. The legislation will firmly place Maryland in lockstep with a broad coalition of health professionals, organizations, national agencies and the international community to protecting our youth.”
Melanoma is one of the most common cancers diagnosed among young adults, and according to Delegate Bill Bronrott, approximately 40 percent of teenage girls are using tanning beds each year.
Until the recent legislation, minors were permitted to use a tanning device at a tanning facility with a parent or legal guardian’s consent. Now, regulation prevents minors from using tanning beds altogether in an effort to reduce the risk of overexposure to UV rays that often lead to skin cancer.
Roberta Herbst, Program Manager for the Center for a Healthy Maryland, points out that “the thinner skin of children and teens is particularly vulnerable to damage from UV radiation. Recent studies show an alarming rise in the incidence of melanoma among young women in the U.S. since 1980, which may be attributable to the prevalence of tanning bed use by teens.” (Source: Medical News Today)