Tanning beds will soon be for adults only in California. On Sunday, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 746, a bill that makes our state the first in the nation to ban all minors from using indoor UV tanning beds. The new law, originally sponsored by State Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), takes effect on January 1, 2012.
The World Health Organization classifies tanning beds as a “level 1 carcinogen,” the same as cigarettes… and plutonium. Several European countries, including England and France, currently restrict tanning beds to adults, and Brazil has banned them entirely.
SB 746 was supported by numerous medical societies and health groups, including the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatological Surgery, the California Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente. The bill also received scientific support from researchers at Stanford, the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, and UCSF, whose recent study found the rate of melanoma has more than doubled among Californian girls and women aged 15 to 39 in high socioeconomic areas.
“Indoor tanning is especially harmful because of the intense and dangerous type of UV rays emitted from the tanning beds,” Lieu recently commented in a release. “Moreover the skin damage is cumulative, so the more exposure one gets younger in life, the worse the harmful effects will be."
Michael Claeys is a writer in the Stanford Cancer Institute.