Bill bans tanning beds for CA minors

tanning bedGovernor Jerry Brown Sunday signed Senate Bill 746, the first-in-the-nation law banning youths under age 18 from using indoor tanning booths.

SB 746 seeks to protect youths from the cancer-causing effects of tanning beds, say the bill’s sponsors.

“Indoor tanning is especially harmful because of the intense and dangerous type of UV rays emitted from the tanning beds,” said the bill’s author Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance). “Moreover the skin damage is cumulative, so the more exposure one gets younger in life, the worse the harmful effects will be.”

The bill was supported by the California Medical Association, Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente and the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, the California Indoor Tanning Trade Organization (CITTO) had tried to secure a meeting with the governor in hopes of convincing him not to sign the bill into law.

“The proponents of this legislation would have you believe that tanning indoors is related to melanoma skin cancer and that simply is not true. There is no consensus among researchers regarding the relationship between melanoma skin cancer and UV exposure either from the sun or a sunbed,” said Craig Joyner, president of CITTO. “Until there is consensus in the scientific community, government intervention is at best premature and at worst irresponsible.”

Existing law prohibits persons under age 14 from using ultraviolet tanning devices, but permits those between 14 and 18 with permission of their parent or legal guardian.

SB 746, banning tanning beds for all California youths under 18, takes effect January 1, 2012.