Although the science showing the cancer-causing potential of ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning is clear, the politics are, unfortunately, not.
Rolling Meadows, Ill. (PRWEB) April 05, 2013
The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association(ASDSA) is disappointed to learn Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage vetoed legislation (LD 272) April 4 that would have prohibited minors under 18 from using indoor tanning devices in tanning salons.
“Although the science showing the cancer-causing potential of ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning is clear, the politics are, unfortunately, not,” said ASDSA member Robert J. MacNeal, M.D., of Portland. “Indoor tanning causes cancer and has the potential to do great harm to our children. We are hopeful that with time and further education, our government leaders will recognize the significant and long-term impact legislation like this can have on the future of our state's health.”
Gov. LePage, a Republican, announced the veto via his Twitter account, saying, “Maine parents can make the right decisions for their families. This is why I have vetoed LD 272."
The bill, more commonly known as “An Act to Reduce Youth Cancer Risk,” was sponsored by State Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick (D-Penobscot). It would have prohibited minors from using indoor tanning devices even with parental permission. Such restrictions would reduce the exposure teens have to high concentrations of artificially sourced ultraviolet radiation, which has been linked to an uptick in increased cancer rates.
“On behalf of our 5,700 ASDSA members, we extend our thanks to policymakers in Maine for passing LD 272,” said ASDSA President Timothy C. Flynn, M.D. “We can only register our deep disappointment that Gov. LePage went against the will of his legislature in vetoing LD 272. This important bill would have helped today’s teens reduce their risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer as well as non-melanoma skin cancers. The ASDSA supports legislative or regulatory action that aims to reduce the risk of skin cancer. With rising health care costs, we have to look at ways to preserve and protect our public health.”
The bill passed the Maine Legislature along mostly partisan lines. Supporters cited the skin cancer risks associated with indoor tanning as a need for the bill, while opponents feared that the bill would infringe on parents' rights to decide for a minor’s best interest.
"As a teenager, I never imagined that my tanning bed use would lead to a cancer diagnosis, and it is very, very scary to think that a decision I made as an adolescent will affect me for the rest of my life," said Ruth Oviatt, a stage 3 melanoma survivor from Minot who is a member of the AIM at Melanoma Foundation survivors network.
In 2009, Maine passed legislation that prohibited minors under 14 from using indoor tanning devices in tanning facilities, and required teens 14 and 15 years of age to have parental consent and parental accompaniment for each tanning session, while teens 16 and 17 years old were allowed to tan only with parental consent. The Maine Department of Health was assigned the task of creating regulations to enforce the indoor tanning restrictions included in the bill, but only the parental consent requirement for minors under 18 was enacted.
“The prevention and treatment of skin cancer is vital to the public’s health,” Flynn said. “As dermatologic surgeons, we must continue educating our patients, particularly teenagers, about the risks associated with indoor tanning.”
To date, 33 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation that limits access to indoor tanning devices for minors and/or require parental consent in-person or by a signed document. Of the 17 states with no youth access laws, 14 are considering legislation in 2013 to limit access to indoor tanning facilities.
About the ASDSA
The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) is the largest specialty organization exclusively representing dermatologic surgeons who have unique training and experience to treat the health, function and beauty of your skin. Dermatologic surgeons are experts in skin cancer prevention, detection and treatment. As the incidence of skin cancer rises, dermatologic surgeons are committed to taking steps to minimize the life-threatening effects of this disease. For more information, visit http://asdsa.asds.net.