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New Jersey just made it illegal for teens to tan indoors
Think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a crime to let children use cancer-causing tanning beds? Actually, now it isÃ¢â‚¬”at least in the state of New Jersey. Earlier this week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law that prohibits people under 17 from tanning indoors.
Prior to the new bill, children under 14 were prohibited from tanning in state, and minors could fake bake with a guardianÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s written consent. But last spring, the media exploded with coverage of notorious Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tan MomÃ¢â‚¬Â Patricia Krentcil, who brought her then five-year-old daughter to a Nutley, New Jersey tanning salon and was then charged with child endangerment. While her charges were dropped, the hoopla inspired Christie to toughen up the stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s indoor tanning policy. Now, 16- and 17-year-olds can only tan indoors if their parent or guardian is present every time they purchase a tanning session or package.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indoor tanning can raise a person's risk for melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer) by a whopping 75 percent. The risk is particularly high if you use sunlamps before the age of 35.
While weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re all for the ban on indoor tanning at any age, opponents say the Garden StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new provisions could have serious consequences on tanning salonsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ bottom lines. Moreover, they say people should have the right to decide whether they want to subject themselvesÃ¢â‚¬”or their kidsÃ¢â‚¬”to indoor tanning.
For the record, the now-infamous Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tan MomÃ¢â‚¬Â told TMZ yesterday that she supports the ban because she doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think children should ever tan.
Because the federal government only regulates actual indoor tanning devices and allows local governments to decide who can use them, the same debate persists in other states, too. (You can find your stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s policy here.)
Do you think local governments should regulate indoor tanning? What kind of sunlamp legislation do you think is appropriate? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!