Governor signs bill to ban tanning by minors
STATE HOUSE – Gov. Gina Raimondo signed legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and Rep. Mia Ackerman 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).
“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 (D-Dist.45, Cumberland, Lincoln. “In fact, just like tobacco smoke, UV rays are classified as a Level 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization. We simply shouldn’t be risking the lives of our teenagers just so they can look good on prom night.”
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 2299B, 2018-H 7136) eliminates the parental consent option, and also removes an exemption that currently allows minors with a doctor’s prescription to use tanning facilities.
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.
“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 for the legislation. “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.”
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903