Key business-policy panel OKs Sen. Lieu plan to fight cancer by banning children from using tanning beds

May 02, 2011

Consumer-protection measure would protect against melanoma

SACRAMENTO – Children under 18 would have greater protections from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation emitted from tanning beds under a Sen. Ted Lieu bill approved today by the Senate’s primary business-policy committee.

“The medical and scientific evidence is airtight – tanning beds cause cancer,” Lieu, a Torrance Democrat, said after the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee vote that came, appropriately, on the first weekday of national Melanoma Awareness Month. “The younger you are when you start using tanning beds, the greater the chances of dying from skin cancer.” 

As approved, Senate Bill 746 would ban those under age 18 from using indoor tanning beds. It would replace current law, which requires young teens between 14 and 17 to obtain permission of a parent or guardian to use tanning beds. Children 14 and younger already are banned from using tanning beds.  

If SB 746 is signed into law, the Golden State would be the first in the nation with such a ban. Thirty states have imposed some restrictions on teen UV-radiation tanning, including Texas, the only state with a tanning-bed ban for anyone under 16 and a half. New York, Illinois, Ohio and Rhode Island currently have bills in progress similar to SB 746.  In addition, several countries in Europe, including France and England, have banned tanning beds for anyone under 18; with sun-rich Brazil banning tanning beds completely for all ages. 

Sponsored by the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatological Surgery and the Aim at Melanoma Foundation, SB 746 seeks to protect youths because they are the most susceptible to the cancer-causing effects of UVR tanning beds. Lieu’s bill is supported by numerous groups, including the California Medical Association, Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Supporters unanimously cite overwhelming evidence showing those who use tanning beds before age 35 increase their lifetime risk of melanoma by 75 percent.

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