New legislation introduced Feb. 15 would prohibit all Illinois minors from using sunless tanning beds.
Senate Bill 2244, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), would ban Illinois minors age 17 and younger from sunless tanning beds.
Currently, minors ages 14 to 17 are allowed to tan if they provide a parent's signature.
Radogno said in a press release that lawmakers need to take more serious action to prevent the "potentially deadly effects" of tanning.
“Just as we don’t give children the option to smoke, they shouldn’t be allowed to tan indoors—which medical studies show is a dangerous, and even deadly, practice,” Radogno said in a statement. “The light from indoor tanning beds is considered a Class 1 carcinogen, and many respected medical experts agree sunless tanning does increase the risk of cancer.”
In 2009, experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, moved tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet radiation into the top cancer risk category—the same classification given to arsenic and mustard gas, according to Radogno.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of developing melanoma due to tanning bed use increases by 75 percent for people under age 35, and the British Medical Journal agrees the earlier people start tanning, the greater the risk they will develop skin cancer,” she said. “There are plenty of safe tanning alternatives available, and there is absolutely no need for young people to take this unnecessary health risk.”
Illinois, California and Vermont are among states that have recently passed laws to restrict minors from visiting indoor tanning salons. California and Vermont are the only states with an outright ban on minors under age 18.
On Feb. 11, Oregon lawmakers introduced a bill that would require anyone younger than 18 to show a doctor's note before using a tanning bed.
In 2010, 14 different states worked to pass legislation prohibiting minors from tanning indoors, and in 2012 that number increased to 20, Radogno said.