California Bans Tanning Beds for Minors

Tan CrayonCalifornia on Sunday became the first state in the nation to place a ban on tanning bed use for anyone under the age of 18. Supporters of the law argue that skin damage caused by the use of the bed often leads to melanoma.

The new law was announced by California Governor Jerry Brown, and it will officially go into effect on January 1, 2012.

A similar law for younger tanning bed users was already on the books in Texas; however, that law only banned users under the age of 16-years-old. According to public records, 30 other states have similar laws on the books, but none with such a high age limitation.

Under former California law, children 14 and under could not use tanning beds while 15- to 17-year-old teenagers could use the beds with parental permission.

According to industry notes, 5 to 10 percent of tanning bed customers are under the age of 18, and the law will affect those businesses which are primarily owned by women entrepreneurs.

While it is still not clear what effects tanning beds have on a younger audience, research has pointed to an increased risk in melanoma-based cancer when tanning beds are used at an earlier age. The bill’s author, state Senator Ted Lieu, cited a recent Stanford Cancer Institute-backed study that showed a higher melanoma rate among girls and young women in areas of higher income where tanning is prevalent.


Christina Clarke of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California said in a recent statement:

“Girls in affluent California communities especially are surrounded by the message that being tanned all year round is cool,” while she adds, “Pop music star Katy Perry is even singing about it.”

The measure was fully endorsed by the California Society of Dermatology and Dermatological Surgery and the AIM at Melanoma Foundation.


Lieu said in a statement that melanoma brought on by tanning was the leading cause of cancer death in California for women between 25 and 29.


In Calif., no more tanning beds for under-18 crowd:

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Written by James Johnson

James Johnson is a writer, editor, husband, and father.

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