Gov. Jerry Brown is considering a bill (SB 746), by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), that would bar people younger than age 18 from visiting indoor tanning salons, Capitol Weekly reports.
Brown has until Oct. 9 to act on the measure. If it is approved, the bill would take effect Jan. 1, 2012, and make California the first state in the U.S. with such a ban, according to Lieu's office.
Existing state law allows individuals ages 14 to 17 to visit tanning salons if they obtain permission from a parent or guardian. Children younger than age 14 are banned from using tanning beds.
A recent study from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California found that the rate of occurrence of melanoma, a skin cancer, has more than doubled among those who are most likely to use tanning beds: girls and women ages 15 to 39 with high socioeconomic status.
Debating the Bill
The tanning salon industry, which opposes SB 746, has said it promotes responsible sunburn prevention and sun care.
The legislation could cost salons up to $10 million annually on top of a recently enacted federal tax on tanning salons, according to officials in the industry.
Medical experts have said ultraviolet rays from indoor tanning could put people at a greater risk for skin cancer and related conditions.
In addition, the California Medical Association, which supports the legislation, has said tanning beds pose risks to users' health.
According to CMA, physicians and public health officials have long warned about the dangers of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (Howard, Capitol Weekly, 9/29).