Governor Cuomo Signs New York Tanning Ban

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On July 17, 2012 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that will prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices for all New Yorkers under the age of 17. Noted dermatologist Joshua Fox, MD, applauds the new law banning indoor tanning to protect teens.

On July 17, 2012 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that will prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices for all New Yorkers under the age of 17. The bills A 1074 and S 2917 will still require parental consent for 17-year olds for the use of indoor tanning devices.

According to Joshua Fox, MD and founder and director of New York and New Jersey-based Advanced Dermatology PC, “It has been proven that indoor tanning increases the risk of skin cancer and premature aging. We applaud Governor Cuomo’s efforts and hope that other states take note of New York’s proactive position on reducing skin cancer and follow suit,” adds Dr. Fox.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology on a daily basis more than 1 million people tan in a tanning salon. Nearly 70% of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian females, primarily aged 16-29 years. And nearly 28 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens.

“The short-term, bronzing effects of tanning bed use are simply not worth the long-term consequences of increased skin cancer risk and premature aging,” adds Dr. Fox. The United States Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency of Research on Cancer has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, including tanning beds and sun lamps, as known carcinogens (a cancer-causing agent).

Studies have found a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma in those exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning. Evidence from studies has shown that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning is associated with an increased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers including squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Additional studies show that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning damages the DNA in the skin cells and can lead to premature skin aging, immune suppression and eye damage.

Dr. Fox concurs that the increased use of tanning beds by teenagers has contributed to the sharp rise in melanoma rates. Melanoma is linked to excessive sun exposure particularly in the first 10 to 19 years of life. “The reason teens are so at risk is that they are still experiencing such tremendous growth at the cellular level,” Dr. Fox explains.

Many surveys have found that teens put tanning sessions at the tops of their “to-do” lists for one reason: vanity. From high school proms to college homecomings, from “date night” to “girls’ night out,” teens are aware of the cultural and societal pressures to look their best, and many of them have turned to tanning salons to help them in their quest. According to Dr. Fox, tanning has been shown to release endorphins which give the teen a natural high. This encourages them in an almost addictive manner to continue tanning.

Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., is the founder and medical director at Advanced Dermatology P.C. He is a leading authority in the field of dermatology with expertise in skin cancer, cosmetic surgery and laser procedures. He is also the founder and president of The New Age Research Foundation, a national, non-profit [501 (C) (3)] health organization committed to improving the quality of life of those with skin conditions through research and education.

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Melissa Chefec
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