Wednesday, February 23, 2011

St. Reps. Combs and Fende Introduce Bill to Protect Teens from Indoor Tanning

Columbus State Representatives Courtney Combs (R- Hamilton) and Lorraine Fende (D- Willowick) today introduced legislation which would prohibit the sale of indoor tanning to anyone under the age of 18 unless permission has been granted through a prescription by a physician.
The current law requires that consumers under 18 obtain written consent from a parent or legal guardian prior to receiving tanning services. House Bill 119 seeks to eliminate such wording to protect teens from the early onset of serious medical conditions.

“Many have clamored that if we prohibit the use of tanning beds for minors we might as well ban poolside and beach tanning, but that argument is moot,” Combs said. “The amount of radiation produced during indoor tanning, in many cases, is stronger that the sun. There is direct evidence that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning damages the DNA in the skin cells. Studies have shown that 80 percent of skin damage happens before the age of 18.”

Skin cancer has become an epidemic over the last 20 years in the United States as cases have risen from 500,000 to 1.2 million annually, according to the American Cancer Society. Among women between the ages of 25-29, melanoma is the leading cause of cancer-related death. Women between the ages of 30-34 die from melanoma more often than other forms of cancer, with the exception of breast cancer. For men between the ages of 20-29, melanoma is the most deadly form of cancer.

“The numbers associated with skin cancer in the United States are staggering,” Fende said. “Our goal with this bill is to create precautionary measures to help ensure a healthy future for our young people today. The perceived cosmetic gains are not worth the irrevocable damage from the intense UV radiation.”

Currently there are 20 other states considering similar legislation. House Bill 119 is supported by various groups including the American Medical Association, the Ohio State Medical Association, the Ohio Dermatological Society, the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Skin Cancer Foundation.

The bill will now be referred to a House committee for further discussion.