Connecticut joins fight against skin cancer with indoor tanning ban for minors under 17

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 10, 2013) —Connecticut has sent a strong message to young people that indoor tanning salons can be dangerous to their health by passing a law that bans minors under the age of 17 years old from using indoor tanning devices. The law is based on significant scientific evidence that links indoor tanning to increased risk of developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.

“Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, and the American Academy of Dermatology Association is pleased to see that another state has recognized the risks associated with using these dangerous devices,” said board-certified dermatologist Dirk M. Elston, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA). “The Academy applauds Connecticut for taking this significant step in protecting its youth from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and non-melanoma skin cancers. Prevention is the key to reducing this alarming trend in melanoma incidence rates, and we need to continue to educate the public about the risks of indoor tanning and encourage healthy decisions to help prevent skin cancer.”

Legislation prohibiting the use of indoor tanning beds by minors under 17 passed both the Connecticut House and Senate in May. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the bill into law on June 5, 2013. The law will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2013.

Connecticut is the latest state to pass legislation that limits the use of indoor tanning by young people. New Jersey and New York have passed legislation prohibiting minors under the age of 17 from using indoor tanning devices. California, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Howard County, Md., and Springfield and Chicago, Ill., have passed laws prohibiting the use of indoor tanning devices by minors under the age of 18. Currently, legislation that would ban minors under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning devices is being considered by the governors in Illinois and Texas.

Several local, state and national organizations joined the AADA in supporting this legislation, including the Connecticut Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery Society, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association, AIM at Melanoma, the Dermatology Nurses Association, and the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants.

This announcement comes shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed stricter regulations on indoor tanning beds, as well as a strong recommendation against the use of tanning beds by minors under the age of 18.

The AADA applauded the FDA’s proposed regulations, but recognized that there is still more work to be done to protect the public from the dangers of indoor tanning. The AADA will continue to work with state legislative and regulatory bodies, as well as the FDA, to prohibit the use and sale of indoor tanning devices for minors under the age of 18.

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 1,080 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Connecticut in 2013.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services proclaimed in 2002 that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, is a known carcinogen. Yet, nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens.

In an effort to increase the public’s understanding of skin cancer and motivate people to change their behavior to prevent and detect skin cancer, the Academy launched the SPOT Skin Cancer™ public awareness initiative. Visit the SPOT Skin Cancer™ website — www.SpotSkinCancer.org — to learn how to perform a skin self-exam, download a body mole map for tracking changes on your skin, and find free skin cancer screenings in your area. Those affected by skin cancer also can share their story via the website and download free materials to educate others in their community.

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