RYAN, JOHNSON, CHIVUKULA MEASURE PROTECTING TEENS FROM SKIN CANCER ADVANCES IN ASSEMBLY

Bill Would Bar Anyone Under 18 from Using Tanning Beds

An Assembly panel on Monday advanced a measure sponsored by Assembly members Kevin Ryan, Gordon Johnson and Upendra Chivukula that would help protect teens from an increased risk of skin cancer by banning access to tanning beds for anyone under 18 years old.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, individuals who use indoor tanning devices before the age of 30, increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent. As many as one-in-three American 17-year-old girls use indoor tanning, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“This measure would increase the age that individuals could begin using tanning beds, a step that would be beneficial in terms of delaying an individual’s exposure to potentially cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation,” said Ryan (D-Bergen/Essex/Passaic).

Current law allows emancipated minors and minors between 14 and 18 years of age, who have written authorization from a parent or guardian, to use tanning facilities.

The bill advanced today (a committee substitute for A-2933/3640/2867) would bar anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning beds in New Jersey, regardless of whether they have obtained parental permission. However, the bill would allow teens 14 years of age and older, with written permission, to use spray tanning, which does not expose them to UV radiation the way a tanning bed does.

“I’m sure there are many adults out there who don’t realize how much greater the risk of skin cancer is for young people who use tanning beds. This bill would help eliminate the possibility that those unfamiliar with these risks would allow a minor to use a tanning bed,” said Johnson (D-Bergen).

“Numerous studies indicate that the earlier an individual begins using tanning beds, the greater their risk of developing skin cancer,” said Chivukula (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “This is ultimately a practical, life-saving measure.”

The bill would take effect six months after enactment. Currently, California and New York are considering similar legislation. At least 25 other states have varying restrictions on teen tanning.