California Bans Tanning Beds for Minors

A new California law that prohibits anyone younger than 18 from using tanning beds drew praise from from health organizations when it was signed this weekend.

The law, signed on Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown, takes effect Jan. 1.  Currently, California law permits teenagers who are between 14 and 17 to use the beds provided they have parental consent.

The bill’s author, State Sen. Ted Lieu, told the Associated Press that 30 other states have laws in place restricting tanning for minors.

The American Academy of Dermatology expressed support for the law in a statement, noting that previous research has shown that people who have used indoor tanning are at 75 percent higher risk for melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Indoor tanning also raises the risk of other types of skin cancer.

“The American Academy of Dermatology applauds the state of California for being the first in the nation to prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices for all children and adolescents under the age of 18 — the most restrictive law in the country,” Dr. Ronald L. Moy, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association, said in the statement. “We commend Gov. Brown, Sen. Ted Lieu and the other members of the California legislature for their efforts to help reduce the future incidence of skin cancer by protecting youth from the dangers of indoor tanning.”

Other professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization, have expressed support for similar laws.  In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, placed tanning beds in its Class 1 carcinogen category.  Cigarettes, plutonium and ultraviolet radiation from the sun are in the same category.

But the Indoor  Tanning Association, a group that represents thousands of tanning equipment manufacturers, distributors, salon owners and their members told ABC News in a statement the ban will hurt businesses and cost people jobs.  They also said there is no agreement among researchers that exposure ultraviolet light that doesn’t cause burns leads to the development of melanoma.