New Jersey Bans Tanning for Minors Citing Health Risks

The law aims to prevent skin cancer and misuse of tanning salons. Should Boston follow Jersey's lead?


Tanning photo via Shutterstock

In news you never expected to come out of New Jersey, home of the “Gym Tan Laundry”-crazed Jersey Shore stars, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law Monday prohibiting teenagers younger than 17 from using commercial tanning beds, and those under 14 from getting commercial spray tans.

The law is an effort to confront the well-documented risks of tanning, namely skin cancer caused by the UVA and UVB rays used in the salons. Research has also shown, according to the CNN article, that those who begin tanning at a young age have a 75 percent higher chance of getting melanoma. “I sign this bill because of the documented and well-understood risks associated with misuse of indoor tanning systems,” Christie says in a CNN report, also citing the recent, now-infamous story of a mother bringing her 5-year-old daughter to a tanning salon in the state. Still, some critics of the law are saying it will only drive teenagers to other dangerous tanning methods, like natural sunlight and at-home booths, and others are saying that parents, not the government, should have the final say on what adolescents can do with their bodies.

So should the tanning restrictions come to Boston? We don’t think it would be a bad idea. If minors can’t buy cigarettes and alcohol because they carry health risks, we don’t think its a stretch to ban tanning, either. And with Massachusetts setting the national standard for healthcare and medical research, this seems like a natural next step. Plus, the orange-hued look is so 2007. Not cute.

That said, if you absolutely must get some color, at least make sure you’re avoiding the dangerous commercial bulbs of tanning beds—and please, listen to your mother and remember that sunscreen when you hit the pool. If you’re looking for a safe(r) way to get ready for beach season, here are some Boston salons offering organic spray tan treatments:

Glow Tanning Centers, 253 Newbury St., Boston, 617-369-4569;

Equinox, 225 Franklin St., Boston, 617-426-2140;

Natural Glow, 414 Commercial St., Boston, 617-418-0044;