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NJ Tan Ban Bill Revamped, Advancing

No one under the age of 17 would be allowed to use a tanning bed in New Jersey under a measure approved by the General Assembly.

Tanning Bed
Martin Diebel, Getty Images

The Assembly originally passed a bill last month barring anyone under the age of 18 from using a tanning bed. In a compromise reached with the Senate, the bill would now bar anyone under the age of 17 from using tanning beds in New Jersey, regardless of whether they have obtained parental permission.

The bill would allow teens 14 years of age and older to use spray tanning, which does not expose them to UV radiation the way a tanning bed does.

A person 17 years old would be allowed to use a tanning bed, provided that a parent or guardian is present for the initial consultation and purchases all tanning bed sessions for the minor and provides proof of identification. Tanning facilities would be prohibited from allowing anyone 17 years old to use a tanning bed on consecutive days and required to monitor the frequency of their use and record all appointments.

“While I would like to have seen the age remain at 18, in the interest of protecting as many people as possible, rather than no one, I think this is a healthy compromise that heightens oversight,” said Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, a sponsor of the legislation. “Increasing the age that individuals can begin exposing themselves to tanning bed rays will help delay their exposure to potentially cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. This bill is akin to when we raised the tobacco purchasing age. Hopefully time delayed is life saved.”

The bill has also been amended to impose penalties for violating the provisions of the bill as they relate to minors’ use of tanning facilities, which would be $1,000 for the first offense and $2,000 for the second offense, and $2,000 and a five-day suspension of the facility’s registration and operation for a third and subsequent offense.

The American Suntanning Association is condemning the vote saying it replaces parental consent laws already on the books for indoor tanning with a harmful ban. The group claims banning teens under 17 from using a tanning bed is likely to have an adverse effect and will drive teens to riskier alternatives such as unregulated home units and outdoor overexposure with much higher likelihood of burning.

Beach Bum Tanning owner and American Suntanning Association (ASA) Board Member James Oliver said, “Tanning salons in New Jersey are run by professionals who require parental consent forms for teens between 14 and 18 and abide by the golden rule: Don’t ever burn. This heavy handed regulation will hurt small businesses and their employees and force teens to beaches and unregulated alternatives are much more likely to burn them and contribute to skin cancer. It makes more sense to start banning New Jersey beaches at this point. It’s important to remember when evaluating risks, the World Health Organization recognizes sunbeds and sunlight in the same category, along with red wine and salted fish.”


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