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Commentary | ONLINE FIRST

Post–California Tanning Ban A Brief Update on Current Youth Access Laws

Lucy L. Chen, BA; Steven Q. Wang, MD
Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(9):1071-1072. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2012.2085.
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Nearly a quarter of US adolescents have reported using indoor tanning. The reasons stated for tanning include a desire to achieve a tanned appearance, to socialize and improve their mood, or to relax.1 Safety concerns surround the addictive nature of tanning, as well as the increased risk for skin cancers, skin aging, and immunosuppression due to the exposure of UV radiation.2 As a consequence, there has been an alarming rise in melanoma incidence, especially in young women ages 15 to 39 years.3 Indeed, it has been shown that tanning bed use increases the risk of melanoma by 75% when use occurs before age 35 years.4 In response to these alarming trends, numerous health and medical organizations have characterized tanning beds as carcinogenic and encouraged increasing state regulations to limit youth access to tanning salons.4 In February 2012, California became the first state to implement a universal tanning ban for minors younger than 18 years. In light of this instrumental piece of legislation, this commentary serves to delineate the current status of tanning access restrictions and describe the challenges in the legislative path to “ban the tan.”

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Figure. Eleven states with absolute age restrictions on tanning. A total of 32 states have youth access laws with age requirements, including parental consent, parental accompaniment, and/or absolute restriction.

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