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Washington State Legislature Approves Ban on Indoor Tanning for Minors
Update: On March 27, Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 6065 into law and in so doing added indoor tanning regulation to the state’s legal code. Introduced by State Senator Curtis King, SB 6065 bans children under age 18 from using indoor tanning facilities unless they have a prescription for ultra-violet radiation therapy from a licensed physician.
We are so happy to announce that the Washington State legislature has approved the ban on indoor tanning for minors under age 18. Governor Inslee is expected sign the bill into law within the next three weeks. We are optimistic that Washington will soon count itself among the states that have voted to protect children from a preventable cause of melanoma.
This law could not have been passed without the incredible efforts of many people. Our lobbying team lead by Susie Tracy of the WSMA deserves credit for keeping this issue at the forefront of the legislators’ minds, for doggedly pursuing “yes” votes, and for never giving up hope. We also thank Abe Bergman, a retired pediatrician and veteran of public health campaigns, who helped us find a way through the previously impenetrable opposition. Rep. Eileen Cody pushed back against a surprising House Democratic led amendment that nearly killed the bill. And most importantly, we wish to thank Sen. Curtis King, our primary sponsor, who took hold of this bill and wouldn’t let go until it became law. Sen. King demonstrated what we all admire in someone who devotes himself to serving the people: thoughtfulness, dedication and leadership. Without him, this bill could not have become law.
We also wish to thank the young women who testified and told their stories of indoor tanning and subsequent melanomas in front of intimidating panels of politicians. Their insight into the teenage drive to be bronzed followed by the subsequent development of melanoma was a moving and powerful reminder to the legislators of the reason why this bill is so important.
Sasha and I have worked on this bill since 2009. With help from previous WSDA Executive Director Shannon McDonald we got the ball rolling with Rep. Jeanne Darneille and Sen. Kohl-Welles, who eventually passed the primary sponsorship of the bill on to Sen. King. Scott Isenhath has helped with testimony, as has Robin Hornung. Each of you who have contacted legislators has pushed this through, and each of you who have told us to keep up the fight is responsible for the passage of this bill.
It is gratifying that the passage of this bill is the result of the hard work of so many people who cared enough to stick it out and keep on going. As doctors, we typically treat one patient at a time. With this new law, we will help many people, all at once.
Thanks again for all of your help and support.
WSDA Legislative Committee
Sasha Kramer, MD
Marc Antezana, MD
Compelling Evidence of the Link between Tanning Beds and Skin Cancer
Summary: The Washington State Dermatology Association is committed to reducing the incidence of skin cancer in our state. Strong evidence exists that the use of UV tanning beds causes skin cancer, yet many adolescents continue to tan indoors. There is a compelling case to introduce legislation to protect young people from the dangers of these machines and to regulate the tanning industry in our state. Such action will reduce the incidence of skin cancer in Washington.
INDOOR TANNING NEARLY DOUBLES THE RISK OF DEVELOPING MELANOMA
- A recent study found that indoor tanning nearly doubled the risk of melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer. This risk increased further with more time spent in the tanning beds leading to a 2.5 fold increased risk in those who used tanning beds more than 100 times per year1.
TANNING SALONS HAVE NO OVERSIGHT BY THE FDA
- Tanning beds are a Class I device in the same category as tongue depressors and bandaids. Class 1 devices “present minimal potential harm to the user” and are therefore subject to RECOMMENDATIONS but not enforcement from the FDA2.
- A recent study of tanning salons in all 50 states showed that 95% of indoor tanners exceed the FDA guidelines of tanning bed use3 and that 71% of indoor tanning facility users exceed the FDA guidelines for the frequency of tanning bed use4.
THE TANNING INDUSTRY IN WASHINGTON IS COMPLETELY UNREGULATED
- There is no required training for tanning salon employees, nor is there any state oversight of tanning salons or tanning beds. This is despite the fact that In July 2009 The World Health Organization moved UV tanning beds to the highest cancer risk category labeling them as “carcinogenic to humans”, placing them in the same category as cigarettes. Currently, 37 other states and 7 local jurisdictions have such regulations in place; the most recent state to ban tanning for minors under 18 was California.
MISCONCEPTIONS EXIST THAT TANNING IS SAFE AND EVEN BENEFICIAL
- Patrons of tanning salons routinely receive 4.5 to 7 times the UVB radiation needed for vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D can be more safely obtained through oral supplementation5.
BASE TANS/PRE-VACATION TANNING IS NOT SAFE AND DOES NOT PREVENT SUN DAMAGE OR BURNING
- A tan from a sun bed provides virtually no sun protection. A study of tanning bed users found no decrease in cell damage by pre-exposure use of tanning beds. The false notion that a base tan offers protection leads to decreased sun precautions during vacations5,6.
FALSE DATA HAS BEEN WIDELY SPREAD
- In 2010 the Federal Trade Commission charged the Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) with making false health and safety claims about indoor tanning. The ITA has agreed to a settlement that bars it from any further deception7.
MANY YOUNG PEOPLE ARE ADDICTED TO TANNING
- A survey of college students found that 39% exhibited an addiction to tanning. This was found to correlate with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse8.
THE TANNING INDUSTRY MARKETS SPECIFICALLY TO TEENAGERS WHO ARE WIDELY USING TANNING BEDS
- One study showed tanning ads in 48% of high school newspapers using marketing techniques borrowed from the tobacco industry. Two to three million adolescents in the United States tan every year10.
THE COSTS OF TREATING MELANOMA ARE HUGE
- The lifetime cost of taking care of patients diagnosed with melanoma in Washington State in 2008 alone would be around $20 million if all were early, thin lesions. For those unfortunate enough to suffer through the devastation of metastatic melanoma, including chemotherapy, and sometimes palliative care, the cost for an individual climbs to over $150,000.
- Lazovich D, et al. Indoor Tanning and Risk of Melanoma: A Case Control Study in a Highly Exposed Population. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prev 19(6):1557-68.
- Hornung RL, Magee KH, Lee WJ, Hansen LA, Hsieh YC. Tanning facility use: are we exceeding the Food and Drug Administration limits? J AM Acad Dermatol. 2003 Oct;49(4):655-61.
- Pichon LC et al. Youth Access to Artificial UV Radiation Exposure. Practices of 3647 US indoor Tanning Facilities.Arch Dermatol 2009;145(9):997-1002.
- Levine J, Sorace M, Spencer J, Siegel DM. The indoor UV tanning industry: A review of skin cancer risk, health benefit claims, and regulation. JAAD, 2005;53:1038-44).
- Miyamura Y et al. The deceptive nature of UVA tanning versus the modest protective effects of UVB tanning on human skin. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 2010 Oct 6; [e-pub ahead of print].
- http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/05/tanning.shtm Accessed 7/15/2010
- Mosher CE, Danoff-Burg S. Addiction to indoor tanning: relation to anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Arch Dermatol 2010 146(4):412-7.
- Greenman J, Jones DA. Comparison of advertising strategies between the indoor tanning and tobacco industries. JAAD 2009 62(4),685-694.
- Zeller S. Lazovich D. Forster J. Widome R. Do adolescent indoor tanners exhibit dependency? JAAD 2006; 54:589-96.