The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin to prohibit those under 18 from using tanning facilities in Rhode Island.
“The evidence of the dangers of tanning to young people is just overwhelming. All tanning is skin damage, and even one single tanning session drastically increases a young person’s risk for skin cancer. It’s time to start treating tanning like the public health threat that it really is. It is irresponsible to allow kids to put their lives at risk so unnecessarily, and this legislation will take that option off the table. Besides reducing the opportunities kids have to tan and sending a serious message about the real danger of tanning, delaying their access to tanning facilities until adulthood might help curb the next generation’s appetite for this unhealthy habit throughout their lives,” said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1 Providence).
Since 2013, children under 18 have been banned from using indoor tanning facilities in Rhode Island unless their parents sign a written consent that includes information about the cancer risks of tanning. The legislation (2018-S 2299A) passed by the Senate today would eliminate the parental consent option. The bill, which takes effect upon passage, leaves in place an exemption for minors with a prescription for ultraviolet radiation treatment from a licensed physician. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) is sponsoring companion legislation (2018-H 7136).
“There’s no parent permission slip that lets kids buy cigarettes, and for very good reason. There shouldn’t be one for tanning either, for exactly the same reason: cancer. Getting kids past adolescence without these dangerous activities increases the likelihood they will never adopt them as habits, and can make a real difference in the health of the next generation,” said Senator Goodwin.
The legislation applies only to equipment that uses ultraviolet lamps or other equipment to induce skin tanning through irradiation, not spray tanning.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just one indoor tanning session before the age of 35 increases a person’s risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent. One study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 found that 61 of them (97 percent) had used tanning beds.