This year, 2,650 people in New Jersey will be diagnosed with melanoma. Despite recent advances, many of them will die. The best protection is prevention. UV radiation causes melanoma. Exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds at a young age increases melanoma risk by 75%. Melanoma is the most common cancer in young adults. Exposing teens less than 18 years old to UV radiation in tanning salons is reckless, dangerous and must stop.
Tanning beds are listed by the World Health Organization as a Group 1 carcinogen – definitely causes cancer. This is the same rating as high dose radiation and cigarettes. Asbestos, which has needlessly killed so many here in New Jersey, is also rated Class 1.
The present law bans the use of tanning salons for anyone under 14 years. Legally a teen 14 – 18 years can use a tanning salon, as much as they wish, with parental consent. Perhaps not understanding the deadly risk, always under pressure from image conscious teens, often parents do give their consent. Just as we ban cigarettes and the purchase of alcohol from this vulnerable population, we should ban tanning salons.
The NJ State Senate has already passed legislation to ban the use of tanning salons by anyone under 18 years old. The legislation is now in the State Assembly and combined into Bills ACS2933/A3640/A2867. This legislation has bi-partisan support by Assembly Members Ryan, Johnson, Chivukula and Angelini. The passage of this common sense, scientifically supported bill, will save lives here in New Jersey and set an example for the nation.
Nationally, the American Cancer Society predicts 11,600 deaths from skin cancer this year, with more than 8,500 from melanoma. It is time for New Jersey to take a critical step to protect our children and their futures.
Contact the New Jersey Assembly and urge them to Vote Yes on banning the use of tanning salons by any one under 18 years old. If you are not certain which Assemblyperson represents you, click – “My Legislature.”