Fuschillo-weisenberg Bill To Protect Teenagers From Skin Cancer Passed By State Legislature

Charles J. Fuschillo Jr.

July 10, 2006

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (20th Assembly District) were recently joined by Colette Coyne, founder of the Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign (CCMAC), and Dee McCabe, the American Cancer Society’s Regional Vice President for Nassau County, in applauding legislative passage of a bill they sponsored to protect teenagers from the dangers of skin cancer.

The legislation requires anyone between the ages of fourteen and eighteen to have a statement signed by a parent acknowledging that they have read the required safety notices already required by the Department of Health and agree to wear ultraviolet goggles while tanning. The teenager would need to present this notice to the tanning salon before they could be allowed to use the tanning equipment. Children under fourteen years old would be prohibited from using tanning salons.

"Right now, many teenagers are flocking to tanning salons to look good before hitting the beach, but they often don’t concern themselves with the potential health hazards associated with indoor tanning, such as skin cancer, eye injury, skin rashes, and skin wrinkling. Parents need to be able to exercise their judgment in order to protect their children’s long term health, and this legislation would ensure that they are able to do that," said Senator Fuschillo, a member of the Senate’s Health Committee.

"With 1,300,000 diagnosed cases of skin cancer and the fact that one in five Americans will be diagnosed, anything we can do to prevent exposure to UV rays is in the best interest of our children’s health," stated Assemblyman Weisenberg.

"CCMAC applauds Long Island representatives Senator Fuschillo and Assemblyman Weisenberg for their steadfast efforts to protect minors across the state from deadly, intense UV rays present in tanning beds. While Long Island was successful last year in passing regulations, these representatives maintained their vision of safety for all young people in New York State. They did what government is supposed to do: safeguard our health and welfare," said Colette Coyne.

"There is a price to pay for allowing kids access to tanning beds and that price is skin cancer," said Dee McCabe. "They might not pay that price tomorrow, or next week or next year. But, make no mistake; if you allow your children to go tanning they can develop skin cancer. In general, people who use tanning beds are 2 ½ times more likely to develop skin cancer. This legislation will help save lives and educate children and their parents about the dangers of UV exposure. Many thanks to Senator Fuschillo and Assemblymember Weisenberg for introducing this legislation."

If enacted into law, New York would join only a handful of states, including California, Texas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, that have enacted age restriction laws. Under current state law, tanning facility operators are required to be licensed by the Department of Health and display signs, approved by the Department, warning of the potential health effects caused by ultraviolet tanning. In addition, salon operators must also provide approved information notifying patrons of the conditions under which ultraviolet tanning is inadvisable.

The new legislation would also require adult tanning salon patrons to sign a similar statement indicating that they have read the Department of Health’s safety information and agree to wear safety goggles before using a tanning device.

The American Cancer Society states that skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Melanoma accounts for about 4% of skin cancer cases, but it causes most skin cancer deaths. In 2006, there will be an estimated 62,190 new cases of melanoma in the United States and 7,910 melanoma related deaths.

The legislation will soon be delivered to Governor Pataki.