An overwhelming number of Americans believe young adults and children should not have access to tanning salons without parental oversight because of the danger of skin cancer, suggests an online poll by www.dermanetwork.org.
More than 250 voted to encourage legislation to restrict or stop access to tanning salons without parental consent versus just 25 who disagreed. More than 20 states have legislation pending about restricting tanning bed usage. In March 2009, Arkansas and Mississippi signed into law new legislation to restrict access for minors under 14 to tanning salons. Legislators failed to pass a similar law in Montana one month ago.
“About one million people per day in the U.S. tan in tanning parlors. Skin cancers are common. I treated someone with three skin cancers yesterday. People, including young people, die every day from melanoma. There is strong evidence that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma, especially when that exposure occurs at an early age. Public support for laws that would make it harder for teens to have access to tanning beds is very encouraging. Such legislation would literally save lives," said Steven E. Zimmet, MD of Zimmet Vein & Dermatology, Austin, Texas and an advisor to dermanetwork.org.
“Many states have enacted laws to stop the proliferation of teens seeking the tanning bed, or at least requiring a minor to have parental consent in order to tan,” said Lauren Wright, director of dermanetwork.org, an online community of health education, news and patient inquiries to skin care specialists. “Other states have passed stiffer laws that require minors or those under 18 to have a written prescription from their doctor. These laws are needed to stem the tide of sun damage and the potential for more serious skin cancer diagnosis.”