Plano, TX, June 19, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- AIM at Melanoma applauds Texas Gov. Rick Perry for allowing Senate Bill 329 to become law, which strengthens existing state law by prohibiting minors under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning devices. Texas currently prohibits minors less than 16 years and 6 months from tanning, and requires teenagers between the ages of 16 years and 6 months and 18 to obtain parental consent.
As the largest international foundation dedicated to melanoma research and patient advocacy, AIM led the effort to pass the bill along with the Texas Dermatological Society, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and MD Anderson as scientific advisor.
“This legislation will prevent melanoma and other skin cancers, which is vital to the public health,” said AIM Co-Founder Jean Schlipmann, whose husband died of melanoma at the age of 44. “We thank Gov. Perry for allowing the bill to become law and congratulate Texas for protecting our youth from exposure to artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation, reducing their risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers, and ultimately saving lives.
Nearly 28 million Americans use tanning beds every year. Individuals who begin tanning before age 35 have a 75 percent higher risk of developing melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-30, and second only to breast cancer in women 30-34. More than 76,600 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2013, and 3,930 of those cases will be diagnosed in Texas.
“This bill protects our children by reducing teens’ risk of melanoma and other skin cancers,” said Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, who sponsored the bill. “Texas is No. 4 in the nation for the most newly diagnosed cases of this most deadly form of skin cancer. Experts believe this legislation will help save lives, reduce health care expenditures and spare suffering among young people and their families.”
Texas is the fifth state to enact an under-18 tanning ban. Also sponsored by Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, the new restrictions in SB 329 will take effect Sept. 1, 2013.
Spearheaded by AIM, California became the first state to prohibit indoor tanning for minors in 2011. Vermont approved similar legislation in 2012, and Oregon and Nevada enacted under-18 tanning bans in May and June of 2013, respectively. A similar bill has passed the Illinois Legislature and awaits action by the governor.
The new Texas law comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently proposed new regulations for tanning beds that would require their makers to affix labels warning young people not to use the devices.
“We hope the FDA will take notice that Texas and other states have recognized the need to protect minors from indoor tanning devices by passing legislation that bans those under 18 from indoor tanning,” Schlipmann said. “As a result, we encourage the FDA to take the next step and to ban minors from tanning devices across the U.S.”
About AIM at Melanoma
AIM at Melanoma, founded in memory of Charlie Guild, who died of melanoma at the age of 26 and Jim Schlipmann, who died from the disease at 44, is the largest international melanoma foundation focused on melanoma research, education, awareness and legislation. The foundation supports melanoma research efforts by hosting international research forums and is helping to create the first melanoma tissue bank, widely believed by the oncology community to be a key to major breakthroughs in melanoma research. To learn more about AIM, visit www.AIMatMelanoma.org.