California this week became the first state in the country to ban indoor tanning for anyone under 18, a move that drew praise from health organizations.
About 30 other states have laws that place limits on indoor tanning for children and teenagers, but California’s new law will be the strictest in the nation, prohibiting any minor from using a tanning bed, even with a parent’s permission. The bill was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend and goes into effect on Jan. 1.
At least three other states are considering similar legislation, among them New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Four other states’ efforts to enact outright bans on tanning for all minors failed this year.
The American Academy of Dermatology said it applauded California for being the first in the nation to successfully introduce the measure, and commended the Legislature for “protecting youth from the dangers of indoor tanning.”
The law comes amid growing evidence from studies linking ultraviolet ray exposure to skin cancer. One large study of about 2,300 people last year found that those who have ever tanned indoors have about a 75 percent higher risk of melanoma than people who have never done it. A World Health Organization study showed that using a tanning bed just one time increases the risk of melanoma by 15 percent. Researchers earlier this year also showed for the first time that frequent tanning causes changes in brain activity that mimic the patterns of drug addiction.
Nearly 30 million Americans use tanning beds, about 2.3 million of them teenagers.