Children under 18 banned from tanning

By Ashley Curtin, Arts Editor
October 20, 2011
Filed under Opinion

Ultraviolet rays will turn pale, milky-white skin into a bronze sun-kissed hue, but tanning salons throughout California might feel some pressure in the months to come while their tanning beds remain vacant.

A new bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 9, bans children under the age of 18 from exposing their bodies to indoor tanning beds.

The government is finally  protecting children against the development of skin cancer and helping them to prevent early skin damage by putting it into law.

With more than 2.5 million teenagers frequenting tanning salons throughout the U.S. on a yearly basis, the Indoor Tanning Association said, “the ban will hurt businesses.”

But a child’s health is more important than any amount of money.

Many don’t consider the consequences that come from tanning. Instead, they are mostly worried about their physical appearance and fitting in among their peers. It is time to educate children on the health risks of tanning.

Research conducted by the Skin Cancer Foundation, shows that ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds increases the risk of developing melanoma , a dangerous form of skin cancer , along with many other distinct cancers by 75 percent.

While being tan is said to make people look beautiful, it inadvertently proves the opposite.

Not only does tanning cause cancer, it also causes preliminary skin damage. Wrinkles form, dark spots cover their bodies and early skin aging is evident in children exposed to the concentrated UV radiation from tanning beds, the Skin Cancer Foundation said.

With the negative effects being so prominent, why are so many children participating in this so-called popular beauty practice?

Encouraged to tan on a frequent basis, both the tanning industry and advertisements are to blame.

According to a survey by the Indoor Tanning Association, an overwhelming 5 to 10 percent of the tanning industry’s consumers are children under 18 years old.

The percentage is shockingly unsettling, yet the bill, which will go into effect Jan. 1, makes California the only state protecting children under 18 year old, the Huffington Post reported.

This restriction might be what children need to stay healthy and help them find a safe alternative to tanning, such as sunless lotions or spray tans.

These tanning options will provide children with the same bronzing effect but will keep them away from the dangerous UV radiation found in tanning beds.

While many children never think about their susceptibility to death, California is helping to protect their lives.

So the next time California girls under the age of 18 want to get a little color, they will have to do so the natural way.

Everyone must protect themselves against UV rays, so rub in that sunscreen.


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