The Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) was asked to study age restrictions on tanning bed use after Senate Bill 1274 (2013) was passed by indefinitely in the House Committee on Commerce and Labor.
An increasing number of cases of skin cancer, including the most serious and deadly form – melanoma, has resulted in greater interest in and concern about the safety of tanning and the use of tanning beds and other artificial tanning devices, in particular. Cumulative exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation has been found to increase significantly the likelihood of skin cancer, including melanoma. It is estimated that nearly 65 percent of melanoma and 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by exposure to UV radiation. Given that indoor tanning enables one to tan year round and receive larger amounts of accumulated UV radiation exposure, use of tanning beds/booths has been associated with an increased risk of skin cancer, especially among individuals who use tanning devices frequently and/or begin indoor tanning when young.
Based on the study findings, three policy options were presented for consideration by JCHC members, who voted to introduce legislation to prohibit persons under the age of 15 years from using tanning devices at tanning facilities; and to require a parent or legal guardian, of unemancipated persons 15 to 17 years of age, to provide written consent prior to allowing the minor to use a tanning device at a tanning facility.
Joint Commission members and staff would like to acknowledge and thank those who assisted in this study including Wesley Duncan, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; David Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School; Alan Geller, Ph.D., Harvard University, School of Public Health; Jeffrey Gershenwald, M.D., University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; DeAnn Lazovich, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Craig Slingluff, M.D., University of Virginia, Division of Surgical Oncology; and representatives from AIM at Melanoma, the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society Action Network, American Suntanning Association, the Medical Society of Virginia, the Virginia Cancer Network, and the Virginia Department of Health.