Legislation sponsored by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) to protect teenagers from the dangers of skin cancer has now been signed into law by Governor George Pataki.
"Teenage tanning is becoming more and more prevalent, with some kids exposing themselves to dangerous ultraviolet rays several times a week. These children are not concerning themselves with the potential long term health effects, such as skin cancer, eye injury, skin rashes, and skin wrinkling. Parents will now have the ability to use their judgment to determine whether indoor tanning is in the best interests of their child's long term health," said Senator Fuschillo, a member of the Senate's Health Committee.
The new law prohibits children under the age of 14 from using tanning salons. It also requires anyone between the ages of 14 and 18 to have a parent come with them to the tanning salon and sign a consent form before their child can use tanning equipment.
New York now joins only a handful of states, including California, Texas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, that have enacted age restriction laws. Tanning facility operators are already 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 law also requires 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 new law takes effect November 14th.
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