March 9 Senate Hearing to Consider Greater Protection of Youth
Senate Bill 604 & House Bill 1111
ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State Senators Jamie Raskin and James Robey along with Delegate Mary Ann Love join 15 additional legislators in the Senate and House in co-sponsoring SB 604 and HB 1111 to prohibit use of tanning devices by minors under the age of 18. This new Maryland legislation to protect youth from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is based on significant scientific evidence that indoor tanning is undeniably linked to increased risk of developing the disease. Health organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology Association, MedChi – The Maryland State Medical Society, American Cancer Society, and Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation (JMNMF), rally in firm support of this crucial legislation.
Howard County, Maryland is the only jurisdiction in the nation to currently prohibit access to tanning facilities by minors under 18. Texas currently has the strongest state law in the country, prohibiting minors under the age of 16 and a half from using indoor tanning devices. The United States also lags behind other countries, including France, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom in prohibiting the use of tanning devices by minors. Under current Maryland law enacted in 2008, minors are permitted to use a tanning device at a tanning facility if a minor's parent or legal guardian signs a consent form.
According to Senator Jamie Raskin, originating sponsor of Senate Bill 604, "We ban smoking and drinking alcohol for young people under 18 in Maryland because these activities are inherently dangerous for them, and we should ban indoor tanning for young people under 18 for the same reason. Those indoor tanning sessions are linked to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. I'm proud to be standing with the doctors, dermatologists and American Cancer Society to say that this is a form of childhood recreation we can do without in Maryland."
Delegate Mary Ann Love, the House sponsor of HB 1111 stated, "Just as we protect our teen drivers from their own inexperience and false sense of invincibility, we need to protect minors from other harmful behaviors by following the advice of the World Health Organization and numerous other health organizations who support preventing teens exposure to the harmful UV rays of tanning beds."
"The American Academy of Dermatology Association applauds the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates for introducing legislation to protect its young people from the health dangers associated with indoor tanning," said dermatologist Ronald L. Moy, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. "Indoor tanning before the age of 35 has been associated with a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. This legislation has the potential to save lives if it becomes law."
Stated JMNMF President Greg Safko, "The body of new scientific evidence and re-classification of tanning beds, in June 2009 by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), to their highest cancer risk category - 'carcinogenic to humans' - is an indisputable signal that Maryland must update its current law to prevent deadly melanoma skin cancer from occurring."
"A tan is a sign of injury to the skin. Recent studies show an alarming rise in the incidence of melanoma among young women in the U.S. since 1980, which may be attributable to the prevalence of tanning bed use by teens, reported to be up to 40 percent," stated Gene Ransom, chief executive officer for MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society.
Finally, a recent study published in the International Journal of Cancer found an increase in the risk for melanoma in people who first use tanning facilities in their teen years and twenties. "Because of the unquestionable link between UV exposure as a youth and the increased risk of developing skin cancer later in life, the American Cancer Society urges the Maryland General assembly to pass legislation prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning facilities," stated Bonita M. Pennino, MS, Government Relations Director for Maryland and the District of Columbia for the American Cancer Society.
The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations with a membership of more than 16,000 physicians worldwide. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care.
The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.
MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, is a non-profit organization whose goal is to serve as Maryland's foremost advocate and resource for physicians, their patients and the public health.
The Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation focuses efforts toward: medical research leading to a cure for melanoma; opportunities to educate the general public on prevention and the seriousness of melanoma; and, the development of resources for patients and the entire melanoma community. The Foundation is very instrumental as "the voice for melanoma prevention, detection, care and cure."
SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology