Committee hears Rep. Ackerman legislation that would prohibit minors from using indoor tanning beds
STATE HOUSE — The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare has heard testimony on legislation introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) that would prohibit the use of indoor tanning beds for anyone under the age of 18.
The legislation (2018-H 7136) would amend an existing law which currently allows the practice with parental consent.
“We shouldn’t allow kids to use these tanning devices for the same reasons we don’t allow them to smoke — it causes cancer,” said Representative Ackerman. “When something is legal, it makes it very easy for people — particularly children — to ignore the health risks associated with it. In this case, the risks of melanoma are increased by 59 percent, squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent, and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent. We simply shouldn’t be risking the lives of our teenagers just so they can look good on prom night.”
Representative Ackerman said she has been inundated with letters of support for the legislation from doctors around the state.
“As a physician, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects of a diagnosis of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, in 20- and 30-year-olds,” said Dr. Kaveri Korgavkar in written testimony given to the committee. “Many people do not know that exposure to indoor tanning is significantly more dangerous than outdoor tanning. Tanning beds emit approximately 12 times the UVA radiation of natural sunlight. Women younger than 30 are six times more likely to develop melanoma if they tan indoors.”
The World Health organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has found that the use of tanning beds before age 30 is associated with a 75-percent increased lifetime risk of melanoma. A study by the National Cancer Institute has indicated that melanoma rates among young women in the United States more than doubled between 1973 and 2004 as tanning salons began sprouting up around the country. Additionally, melanoma cases in Caucasian women in the United States aged 15 to 39 increased by 50 percent between 1980 and 2004, the study reported.
The legislation is cosponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Representatives Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick). Similar legislation (2018-S 2299) has been introduced in the Senate by Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence).
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903