AIM at Melanoma, the largest international foundation dedicated to melanoma research and patient advocacy, yesterday applauded Governor Jerry Brown's signing of Senate Bill 746, which now bans children under 18 from using indoor tanning beds.
Tanning beds have been linked to the rapid rise in melanoma rates among 15-39 year olds, the organization claims.
Co-sponsored by AIM at Melanoma and the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatological Surgery, SB 746 replaces the current law, which required teens aged 14-17 years old to obtain parental permission to use a tanning bed.
Nearly 28 million individuals use tanning beds in the U.S. annually, of which 2.3 million are teens, said Valerie Guild, president and founder of AIM at Melanoma. Those who use tanning beds before the age of 20 double their risk of developing melanoma.
Melanoma is the No. 1 cancer killer of young women between the ages of 25-30, and second only to breast cancer in women 30-34, she added. Over 8,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in California in 2011.
Guild, whose daughter died of melanoma at the age of 26, praised Brown's decision to break new ground by signing SB 746 into law.
"This is a major victory in the fight against melanoma," she said. "It is alarming that so many young women are unnecessarily developing melanoma because of a recreational activity."
Guild added: "We applaud Governor Brown for taking advantage of this unique opportunity to blaze a trail by banning minors from using tanning beds. We thank him for joining our fight against this preventable killer.
"Scientific research has shown conclusively that tanning beds cause skin cancer," said Senator Ted Lieu, who authored the bill in the Senate. "The younger kids are when they start using tanning beds, the greater the cumulative damage to their skin and the more likely they are to die of skin cancer."
California is the first and only state to impose a law banning minors from tanning beds.