Recently, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law a bill that is aimed to protect minors from the dangers of indoor tanning.
Hawaii is the tenth state to pass legislation that prohibits minors under the age of 18 from indoor tanning, which will go into effect immediately. The following states have also passed similar legislation – Vermont, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oregon, Nevada, Texas and Washington.
Minors under the age of 18 living in Oregon and Washington can use indoor tanning if, and only if, they have a prescription written by a physician.
Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania took it a step further and passed a law prohibiting minors under the age of 17 from using indoor tanning beds.
In a recent press release, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) commends the state of Hawaii for joining the fight against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
“The risk for developing melanoma increases by 59 percent in individuals who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning devices, and the risk increase with each subsequent use,” said board-certified Brett M. Coldiron, MD, FAAD, and president of the AADA in a press release. “Since 2.3 million teens tan indoors in the United States annually, restricting teens’ access to indoor tanning is critical to preventing skin cancer.”
Support for the ban was provided by the AADA, AIM at Melanoma, American Cancer Society – Cancer Action Network, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association, Hawaii Department of Health, and the Hawaii Skin Cancer Coalition.
More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and more than 410 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Hawaii in 2014.
The AADA points out that nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens.
Experts from the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency of Research on Cancer panel have declared that the amount of radiation produced during indoor tanning is similar to the sun, and in some cases might be stronger.
Studies have shown that excessive exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning beds can damage the skin’s DNA structure.
In fact, excessive exposure can lead to premature skin aging, immune suppression, and eye damage – including cataracts and ocular melanoma.
The Food and Drug Administration estimates that there are about 3,000-hospital emergency room cases a year due to indoor tanning beds and sunlamp exposure.
Individuals diagnosed with any form of skin cancer will not only suffer from additional health complications but will also face higher life and health premiums, as they are a greater risk to the insurance company.