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NJ’s Tan Ban Law To Stay Unchanged [AUDIO]

With all of the fighting over the budget, the millionaires’ tax hike and the university restructuring bill you might’ve thought a bill to extend the indoor tanning bed to bar more minor from doing it would’ve flown under the radar at the State House yesterday.

Tanning Bed
Flickr User Travel Salem

It didn’t. New Jersey lawmakers couldn’t reach an agreement and now nothing is likely to change before the fall.

State Senator Bob Singer says originally, “We wanted total banning for people under 18.” After persuasive arguments from the indoor tanning industry Singer amended his bill that says, “A 16, 17 and 18-year-old can get tanned with a parent’s permission. Under 16, that means 15 or 14 or younger cannot.”

Singer’s bill also required parents to be present at the tanning salon to give permission and to show their I.D.s. The parents would also have to be the ones to pay the tanning bill and consecutive days of indoor tanning would be barred.

A tougher Assembly version bans anyone under 17 from using an indoor tanning bed. Singer and the Assembly sponsors couldn’t strike a deal on a compromise and now the legislature is in recess meaning any change in Jerssey’s currently is unlikely to occur before September.

New Jersey salon owners and other members of the New Jersey Indoor Tanning Association said they were more pleased with this revision. “While the original teen tan bill was a major overreach of government, this compromise works,” said the Association.

New Jersey already bans anyone under the age of 14 from using indoor tanning. Those 14-18 must have parental permission. Last year a bill to ban indoor tanning by all minors was passed in the State Senate, but failed to make it through the full Assembly. Currently Vermont and California are only two states with such a ban. In the indoor tanning industry argues a ban like this in New Jersey could seriously hurt business.

It became international news when a New Jersey mother was accused of taking her then 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth recently where the kindergartener allegedly sustained serious burns. The so-called tanoholic mom was even parodied during a sketch on Saturday Night Live. Health advocates and others are now pushing for action on a bill in the New Jersey legislature that would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to use and indoor tanning facility.

Patricia Krentcil was charged in North Jersey with child endangerment. Police say Krentcil, whose skin is bronze-colored from her regular tanning salon visits, took her daughter into a tanning booth. The girl was 5 at the time but has since turned 6. Police say they were alerted by the kindergartener’s school in Nutley because the girl was in pain from a sunburn.

Krentcil has pleaded not guilty. She says her daughter’s burn came from the sun on an unusually warm April day and that she would never take the girl into a tanning booth.

According to a new American Cancer Society (ACS) study shows the rate of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer has increased 43% over the last decade which coincides with a boom in the indoor tanning industry. The International Agency for Research on Cancer places tanning beds in the highest cancer risk category (group 1) and calls them ‘carcinogenic to humans.’

Aly Dougherty, a 27-year-old stage 3 melanoma survivor knows firsthand the pain and suffering indoor tanning can cause. She explains, “Tanning beds are not safe for anyone, let alone kids and I have the scars to prove this. When I was a teenager I used indoor tanning often before proms and other event. I thought I was invincible. Little did I know that I would be diagnosed with skin cancer years later.”

Next month, Aly will be 6-years cancer-free.

“As a 21-year-old, you’re forced into thinking; am I going to die? I mean what’s going to happen here,” says Aly. “Why isn’t anyone being protected against tanning? I went tanning. I got melanoma, but now I ask; when is this going to stop?”

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