Banning Tanning Beds: Better Late Than Never

I just recently read the news that our very own governor here in California had signed a bill that bans kids under 18 from using tanning beds. It’s a follow up to a previous bill that banned kids between the ages 14-18 from using tanning beds without parent consent and those younger from using the beds all together. This is the first bill of its kind in the U.S.

What?

Did I miss something? Fourteen year olds have been allowed to use tanning beds? You mean, it was allowed? Even with parental permission I can’t believe this was OK. And wait a second, this “previous bill” I mentioned, you mean we had to make a law banning kids under 14?

I’ve always been under the impression that tanning beds were not all that safe anyway, and had no idea kids were allowed to even use them until now.

I do applaud governor Brown for signing the bill, and California for putting it together in the first place. I’m just flabbergasted that it’s 2011 and we just now figured out that kids probably shouldn’t be hanging out in tanning beds.

In 2009, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) moved tanning beds into its highest cancer risk category after they concluded that tanning beds are “carcinogenic to humans.”  A review of research found that the risk of melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer – was increased by 75% in people who started using tanning beds regularly before the age of 30.

In April 2011 England and Wales introduced a ban on the use of tanning beds for kids under 18 following a similar ban in Scotland. Brazil has banned the use of tanning beds completely.

“If everyone knew the true dangers of tanning beds, they’d be shocked,” said State senator Ted Lieu who sponsored the California bill. “Skin cancer is a rising epidemic and the leading cause of cancer death for women between 25 and 29.”

Tanning salons claim the bill will hurt business because 5% to 10% of their business is made up of customers under 18. Not that I really care. Businesses in the business of giving out cancer rarely get a lot of sympathy from me.

At any rate, good for you California, better late than never. Hopefully the other 49 states aren’t far behind.

What do you think? Is banning tanning beds for minors such a no-brainer that you’re as shocked as I am that it wasn’t already in place? And should we start considering banning them all together like Brazil?

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