Massachusetts Is Set To Restrict Indoor Tanning to Teenagers

The legislature advanced legislation Tuesday, but is it enough?

tanning bed image via shutterstock

tanning bed image via shutterstock

Wait, people still fake ‘n bake? Apparently they do.

The Massachusetts legislature advanced restrictions on teen indoor tanning Tuesday, which will make the Commonwealth on par with similar trending legislation across the country. But it is not nearly enough.

Currently, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont all ban the use of tanning beds for minors under 18. At least 41 states and the District of Columbia regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors.

Under the new bill, teens in the Commonwealth under 16 may not use a tanning device unless they have a written order by a physician. What physician is going to write a note saying it is ok to use a tanning bed? Teenagers 16 to 17 years of age will be allowed to use a “tanning device” if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Hey, “tanning mom” please stay in New Jersey.

Why is Massachusetts so far behind in these tanning laws? The state currently permits individuals between 14 and 17 to tan “with parental permission” and those under 14 may tan if accompanied by a parent.

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says tanning beds emit ultraviolet radiation that may cause skin cancer. In May, the agency issued an order that requires the products to have a “visible black-box warning” stating it should not be used on a person under 18.

According to State House News:

Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole), co-chairman of the Public Safety Committee, told colleagues last week that he has filed the bill to stop young people from excessive tanning and to raise awareness of an increase in melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, particularly among women in their 20s and 30s.

“Much of the UV exposure that leads to skin cancer is incurred during childhood and in the teenage years and current law does not adequately address this public health issue by limiting access to the damaging ultraviolet rays of indoor tanning beds,” Timilty said.

I worked in a tanning salon all through college. But it wasn’t wiping up other people’s sweat for a few years that turned me off to tanning beds. It was seeing multiple friends diagnosed with skin cancer before they hit 30. Trust me, there is no prom or homecoming or beauty pageant worth getting cancer for. Just say no.