10 September 2012

City of Springfield passes ordinance prohibiting indoor tanning for those under 18

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Sept. 10, 2012) —The Springfield City Council in Springfield, Ill., has approved an ordinance to prohibit minors under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning beds at Springfield salons. This important action is based on significant scientific evidence that indoor tanning is undeniably linked to increased risk of developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.

"The American Academy of Dermatology Association is proud to have supported this ordinance and commends the City of Springfield for joining the fight against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and non-melanoma skin cancers,” said Daniel M. Siegel, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA). “A ban on indoor tanning for minors is critical to preventing skin cancer. Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, with the most rapid increases occurring among young, white women, the most common users of indoor tanning beds. Prohibiting minors’ access to indoor tanning stops this behavior before it can become a habit that continues into adulthood.”

More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually. The American Cancer Society estimates one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. In Illinois, about 2,460 people will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, making the state the eighth highest in number of new melanoma cases in the United States. An estimated 360 people in Illinois will die this year from melanoma.

"Prohibiting use of indoor tanning for all minors under the age of 18 is critical to preventing future skin cancers," said Judith Knox, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at Springfield Clinic. "For years, minors with parental permission have been allowed to visit tanning salons, and research shows that the incidence of melanoma has increased. These trends indicate a problem that is too great to ignore."

In addition to the AADA’s support, the ordinance was supported by the American Cancer Society, AIM at Melanoma, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association, the Illinois Dermatologic Society, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation, the Sangamon County Medical Society, and Skin of Steel.

“This ordinance, coupled with a similar rule approved in the City of Chicago, should create momentum to enact a statewide ban, thereby expanding the protection of young people throughout the state who do not fully understand that they are hurting themselves when they tan,” said Dr. Siegel. “As dermatologists, prevention is one of the most valuable tools that we have. We need to continue educating patients about the risks of indoor tanning and encouraging healthy decisions to help prevent skin cancer.”

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.

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1 (888) 462-DERM (3376) or visit Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology) or Twitter (@AADskin).