October 10, 2011 in Nation/World

California teens must tan the old way

New law bans beds for under-18 crowd
Don Thompson Associated Press
 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California girls who dream about the sun-kissed skin glorified in song by Katy Perry will have to wait until they turn 18 before they can get the effect from tanning beds under a new first-in-the-nation law.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he had signed into law a bill that prevents children under 18 from using the popular tanning method. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

Although Texas has banned the use of tanning beds for children under 16, SB746 bill makes California the first state to set a higher age limit. Thirty other states also have some age restrictions on the use, said the bill’s author, state Sen. Ted Lieu.

Under current law, children 14 and under in California already cannot use the beds, but those ages 15 to 17 can do so with permission from their parents. Illinois, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island have considered an age limit similar to California’s, but have yet to enact them, said the Democrat from Torrance, Calif.

The ban will hurt businesses, many of them owned by women, said the Indoor Tanning Association. About 5 to 10 percent of its members’ customers are under 18, the industry group noted.

The organization said tanning salons already are regulated by the state Department of Consumer Affairs and the federal Food and Drug Administration – regulations it called the most stringent in the nation.

But Lieu and other ban supporters said the higher age limit is needed because skin damage caused by the type of radiation used in tanning beds often leads to melanoma, which is skin cancer that can be fatal. Lieu said early tanning by children can increase the risk.

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