Illinois has joined Vermont, California, Oregon, Nevada and Texas by passing legislation that prohibits minors under the age of 18 from indoor tanning, along with New Jersey's law banning minors under the age of 17 from using indoor tanning devices. Following similar ordinances recently put in place in Springfield and Chicago, this law is based on significant scientific evidence that links indoor tanning to increased risk of developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.
“The American Academy of Dermatology Association is proud to have supported this legislation and commends the state of Illinois for joining the fight against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer,” said board-certified dermatologist Dirk M. Elston, MD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. “The state’s willingness to follow the examples set by the cities of Springfield and Chicago, exemplifies a true commitment to protecting teens from the dangers of indoor tanning.”
Legislation prohibiting the use of indoor tanning beds by minors under 18 was introduced by Reps. Robin Gable and Raymond Poe earlier this year and passed both the Illinois Senate and House on May 20. Gov. Patrick Quinn signed the bill into law on Aug. 15. The law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
Support for the ban was provided by the AADA, AIM at Melanoma, the American Cancer Society—Cancer Action Network, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association, the Illinois Dermatological Society, Skin of Steel, the Dermatology Nurses Association, the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants, the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation.
More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and more than 2,480 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Illinois in 2013. Studies have found a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning, and the risk increases with each use.
The Illinois House and Senate passed this legislation shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed stricter regulations on indoor tanning beds, as well as a strong recommendation against the use of tanning beds by minors under the age of 18.
The AADA applauded the FDA’s proposed regulations, but recognized that there is still more work to be done to protect the public from the dangers of indoor tanning. The AADA will continue to work with state legislative and regulatory bodies, as well as the FDA, to prohibit the use and sale of indoor tanning devices for minors under the age of 18.
In an effort to increase the public’s understanding of skin cancer and motivate people to change their behavior to prevent and detect skin cancer, the Academy launched the SPOT Skin Cancer™ public awareness initiative. Visit the SPOT Skin Cancer website—www.SpotSkinCancer.org—to learn how to perform a skin self-exam, download a body mole map for tracking changes on your skin, and find free skin cancer screenings in your area. Those affected by skin cancer also can share their story via the website and download free materials to educate others in their community.