New York Tightens Tanning Laws for Teens

Published on December 28, 2010

tanningbedwhite_175wAs of December 21, New York State has increased restrictions on indoor tanning, requiring in-person signed parental consent for would-be tanners between the ages of 14 and 18. Tanning machines emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation, a cancer-causing agent associated with 90 percent of all skin cancers, including potentially deadly melanomas of the skin and eyes. First exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.

Under new regulations, tanning booth operators are also now required to "take steps to ensure" that children under 14 do not use tanning booths. Staff must also provide protective eyewear and information on the dangers of indoor tanning to all tanners 18 and over, who must sign a statement acknowledging these facts. In addition, they must receive instructions on the operation and use of these devices.

The more time a person has spent tanning indoors, the higher the odds of developing melanoma. Since UV damage adds up over time, the younger children are when they begin tanning, the greater the chance they will develop skin cancers. "The Skin Cancer Foundation applauds New York State's efforts to reduce the risk of skin cancers," said Perry Robins, MD, The Skin Cancer Foundation's President. "These new requirements could help prevent young people from damaging their skin and putting their health in danger."

People who use tanning beds are also 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.