State Law likely to limit children's exposure to tanning beds
Teenage tanners may soon have to break out the artificial bronzer -- or the fake ID.
Indoor tanning salons would be off-limits to children 16 years old and younger under legislation agreed to by state legislative leaders Thursday. Seventeen-year-olds would continue to be able to use tanning beds with parental consent.
Legislators and health advocates say the restriction is necessary because of documented increases in both the use of tanning salons by teenagers and skin cancers such as melanoma.
"It's a victory by denying access to a young person who can ... be killed by radiation," said Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach), who sponsored the bill.
The bill passed the Assembly Thursday and goes to the Senate next week. Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick), who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said both houses had agreed upon it.
A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the governor's office will review the bill.
Fuschillo said scientific evidence has "demonstrated the potential dangers with the youth of today going to tanning salons ... This is a protective measure."
Medical experts have long cited artificial tanning as a contributor to the rising incidence of skin cancer. A 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 15.6% of high school students used a tanning device within 12 months of the survey, with almost half using a tanning device 10 times or more.
Another CDC study found that 45 of 85 facilities visited in the New York area in 2010 did not have any warning signs posted.
"It is imperative that we begin to protect all New Yorkers, particularly our youth who may not know the serious consequences of this behavior, from the potentially deadly health risks associated with indoor tanning," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said in a statement Thursday.
Original legislation called for the cutoff to be age 18, said a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), but "some upstate facilities said this would lead to a potential loss of revenue and jobs. We viewed this as an acceptable compromise," he said.
Current law bans children 13 and younger from using ultraviolet radiation tanning devices and allows children ages 14 through 17 to go to tanning salons with parental permission.