Governor Corbett signed a bill into law on Tuesday that sets new rules for teenagers that use tanning salons. The law bans anyone 16 years old and younger from going to an indoor tanning salon in Pennsylvania. It also says that 17 year olds need parental consent.
That’s good news for dermatologist Natalie Bene who said she sees cases of melanoma all too often. “I do see it every day. It’s like an epidemic of people that want to be tan” said Bene. One recent study found that for people with melanoma between the ages of 18 and 29 there’s more than a 75% chance that it was caused by tanning beds. The consequences are also cosmetic. “Their skin becomes wrinkly, uneven tone. A lot of sun spots, leathery it looks like” said Bene.
Bene said it’s for all these reasons that she supports the new law. “We don’t let our minors smoke, so why are we going to let our minors expose themselves to carcinogens” said Representative Frank Farry of Bucks County. That’s the same argument he used to push the bill through the House.
Now that it’s law the Department of Health will enforce it as well as the consequences against those who break the rules. “The department of health will have the power to revoke the license of the tanning facility. So they’ll develope their own regulations and policies on it. I assume there will be some sort of warning process” said Farry.
Representative Farry also said that tanning salons in Pennsylvania will now be required to pay an annual fee. That money will pay for the Department of Health’s costs to enforce the law so that there is no additional burden to taxpayers.