Teens hoping to top off their summer tan with a trip to the tanning bed will be out of luck this winter in California. The state recently became the first in the nation to ban anyone younger than 18 from using tanning salons.
In the past, teens in California younger than 14 were banned from tanning beds, but teens between the ages of 14 and 18 were allowed to use them with parental consent; however, the new bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown would prevent all teens under the age of 18 from using tanning beds. According to the Indoor Tanning Association, teens younger than 18 make up 5 percent to 10 percent of tanning-bed users nationally.
California is the first to take this step. Will this new legislation spill over into other states? Thirty states currently have at least some regulations regarding teens and tanning beds; New York, Illinois, Rhode Island and Ohio are considering legislation similar to California's.
Why the ban? Health experts fear that frequent and early exposure to the UV rays used by tanning beds will greatly increase a teen's risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer and the second most common cancer in U.S. women aged 20 to 29.
California's new legislation goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.