Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District), a member of the Senate’s Health Committee, held a public forum at Wantagh High School today to discuss pending state legislation he introduced that would create new safety regulations for anyone under the age of 18 who uses ultraviolet tanning equipment.
"Indoor tanning has become almost commonplace among teenagers, but many of them do not fully understand the health risks they are taking every time they visit a tanning salon," said Senator Fuschillo. "Because teenagers may not fully understand the dangers to their long term health, parents should have the ability exercise judgment in order to protect their children."
One of the key components of Senator Fuschillo’s proposal would require anyone between the ages of fourteen and eighteen to have a statement signed by a parent indicating that they have read the 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 their first use of the tanning equipment.
In addition, children under the age of 14 would be prohibited from using tanning facilities.
New York would join only a handful of states, including California, Texas, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, that currently restrict minor usage of these facilities. 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.
Representatives from the American Cancer Society and the tanning industry, as well as family members of melanoma victims, were all invited to the forum to offer their thoughts on the legislation.
"Skin Cancer is the fastest growing cancer in America. According to the American Cancer Society it has increased 60% since the 1970’s. Tanning salons became popular in the 1970’s. Is this increase just a coincidence? This legislation is a must," said Colette Coyne, who founded the Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign after her daughter, also named Colette, lost her battle with melanoma at the age of 30. "Laws regarding teenage smoking, in addition to warnings of cancer risk, have impacted the number of smokers. Laws help to educate the public, who depend on their legislative representatives to guard their best interests."
"As a melanoma patient and a former tanning booth user, I think it is a great idea to restrict who is allowed to visit tanning salons. I really think anyone under the age of eighteen should not be using tanning booths to be safe and this law would be a great step," stated Billy Snak, who testified at the forum.
"This forum was a valuable opportunity to gather input about how to best protect our young people from the dangers of skin cancer," Senator Fuschillo added. "As we move forward with this legislation, this will give the legislature a great deal of insight to work with to plot the best course for the entire state."
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