Apr. 2, 2013 New Jersey sent a strong message to young people that indoor tanning salons can be dangerous to their health. New Jersey has passed a law that bans minors under the age of 17 years old from using indoor tanning devices. The law is based on significant scientific evidence that links indoor tanning to increased risk of developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.
"The American Academy of Dermatology Association is proud to have supported this legislation and commends the state of New Jersey for joining the fight against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and non-melanoma skin cancers," said Dirk M. Elston, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. "Through national media coverage and reality television, attention has been drawn to the use of indoor tanning devices in New Jersey. This legislation highlights an important step in changing unhealthy behaviors and sends a strong message from the state that tanning is a dangerous behavior and should be avoided."
Legislation prohibiting the use of indoor tanning beds by minors under 17 passed both the New Jersey House and Senate in February. Gov. Christopher Christie signed the bill into law on April 1, 2013. The law will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2013.
Additional support for the ban was provided by the Dermatological Society of New Jersey and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association.
More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and more than 2,520 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in New Jersey in 2013.
"Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, with the most rapid increases occurring among young, white women, the most common users of indoor tanning beds," said Dr. Elston. "Prevention is one of the most valuable tools that we have as dermatologists. We need to continue educating patients about the risks of indoor tanning and encouraging healthy decisions to help prevent skin cancer."
New Jersey is the latest state to pass legislation that limits the use of indoor tanning by young people. California, New York, Vermont and Springfield and Chicago, Ill. have passed laws prohibiting the use of indoor tanning devices by minors.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services proclaimed in 2002 that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, is a known carcinogen. Yet, nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens.
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