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State lawmaker wants to prohibit use of tanning beds by minors

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The author of a new bill in the Minnesota Legislature is looking to curb the incidence of melanoma by prohibiting the use of tanning beds by minors, the Star Tribune reports.

Sen. Chris Eaton, D-Brooklyn Center, said the state has one of the highest rates of melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer – in the nation because of tanning beds. The National Cancer Center has reported 9,700 deaths from melanoma this year already and another 76,000 new cases in the U.S.

The Minnesota Cancer Alliance says the state already requires parental consent for children younger than 16 to use tanning beds. If the proposed legislation passes, however, it would make the state’s tanning regulations among the strictest in the nation.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 33 states and the District of Columbia regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors. California, Illinois, Nevada, Texas, Vermont are among the states that ban the use of tanning beds by minors, the organization says.

The use of tanning beds is fairly common among teen girls. A Minnesota Student Survey in January found that 34 percent of white 11th grade girls said they had tanned indoors in the last year, the Minnesota Department of Health reported – and about half of them said they used tanning beds 10 or more times.

Melanoma is the second most common cancer among females ages 15 to 29 years old, according to the Minnesota cancer registry, and it continues to be one of the most rapidly increasing cancers in the state, the MDH says.

Washington, Oregon and Idaho are among the other states considering bills to prohibit the use of tanning beds by minors, WTSP reported. A similar bill is also being considered in Pennsylvania, WPXI said.

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