Morris Auster, Esq.    
Senior Vice President                                      Division of Governmental Affairs

                                                        MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT

Chief Legislative Counsel


PASSED ASSEMBLY                                                       A. 7218A (JAFFE)

IN SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE                                  S. 5585A (BOYLE)

                                                                                                An act to amend the public health law, in relation to tanning facilities 

This bill would prohibit children age 18 and under from using tanning facilities and it removes the procedures to grant 17 to 18 year olds access to tanning booths.  Tanning devices are dangerous to the health and well-being of children and should be banned from use by them.  Consequently, the Medical Society of the State of New York supports this bill.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer have classified UV radiation from tanning devices as carcinogenic to humans, in the same category as tobacco and tobacco smoking.  A review of seven studies found a seventy five percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who had been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning before the age of 35.  With the rising incidence of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States, as well as increasing usage of tanning parlors for cosmetic purposes by the public, the medical community supports legislative and regulatory efforts to severely curb access to these devices.

Epidemiologic data suggest that most skin cancers can be prevented if children, adolescents, and adults are protected from UV radiation; however, melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.  Moreover not only is indoor tanning associated with melanoma, but new evidence demonstrates that ever-use of indoor tanning beds is associated with a 69% increased risk of early-onset basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common form of skin cancer.  Risk of developing BCC was higher in those who begin indoor tanning at earlier ages (less than 16 years old).

The Medical Society of the State of New York has adopted policy to eliminate tanning salons in the State of New York and strongly supports this legislation.  According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in the United States. About 95,400 invasive skin cancers will be diagnosed in the US, and more than 87,000 of these will be of melanoma, the most serious form. The American Cancer Society has noted that the highest risk for skin cancer lies in avoiding the use of indoor tanning facilities.  Because the harmful effects of UV exposure accumulate over time, indoor tanning devices pose a greater risk for teens due to the misleading claims by the industry.  This is one of the many reasons New York currently prohibits indoor tanning for children under the age of 17 (Chapter 105 of 2012). 

Currently, The US Food and Drug Administration is reviewing federal regulations for indoor tanning devices for the first time since 1985.  New York has proven to be proactive in this regard and should, once again, take definitive steps to prevent this avoidable cancer that takes the lives of so many New Yorkers.

For all the reasons above, the Medical Society of the State of New York supports this measure and urges it passage.