RI Senate passes bill banning tanning for minors

The Rhode Island Senate approved a bill Thursday that would prohibit those under 18 from using tanning salons.

The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Rhoda Perry, aims to discourage teens from using tanning booths until they’re old enough to weigh the risks of skin cancer.

“Young people are the most at-risk population of people who use indoor tanning facilities, because UV exposure at an early age has been linked to much higher incidences of skin cancer. Cancer is a public health crisis. As if it’s not bad enough that it causes pain and death to individuals, it also costs our health care system billions of dollars every year. From that standpoint, it makes no sense to allow children – who we know are the most at risk and who are also not legally old enough to make decisions about their health – to roast their skin with cancer-causing UV rays in tanning beds,” Perry said in a statement.

Many states require parental consent for minors to use tanning salons, and some have imposed a minimum age of 16. Rhode Island now requires minors to be accompanied by a parent when visiting a tanning salon.

Under the proposed age restrictions, those under 18 would need a doctor’s prescription to use a tanning booth.

“I’m a melanoma survivor six years out and I used tanning beds as a teen,” said Dr. Jason Neustadter of Rhode Island Hospital.

Neustadter has testified numerous times in favor of the proposal.

“Kids are a protected population. We need to do what’s best for them. The same way you can’t go into a convenience store with a note from mom saying, ‘May I pack of cigarettes?’ or go into a liquor store with a note from mom saying, ‘May I buy a bottle of Jack Daniels?’ or go into a gun shop and say ‘Give me a SIG Sauer, my mom says it’s OK’. Tanning should be the exact same way. A note from mom is not enough, we need to protect our kids. That’s the job of physicians, that’s the job of legislators, that’s the job of government, in part, to protect a vulnerable population. That’s what kids are and minors should have no access to these cancer beds,” he said.

The bill now heads to the House.

If the bill becomes law, Rhode Island would have the most stringent statewide controls in the nation on underage tanning. 

Article source: http://www2.turnto10.com/news/2011/may/05/ri-senate-passes-bill-banning-tanning-minors-ar-478510/

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