OKLAHOMA CITY -- A new law in Oklahoma prohibiting minors from using indoor tanning devices goes into effect Nov. 1.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supported the measure and worked alongside lawmakers and skin cancer survivors to advocate for the passage of Senate Bill 765. Young people under the age of 18 are at a particularly high risk for the damages associated with UV radiation and exposure. Indoor tanning use before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk by 59 percent.
With this new law, Oklahoma joins 14 other states and Washington, D.C., in protecting minors under the age of 18 from the harmful radiation emitted by the tanning devices.
“This is a tremendous step toward improving public health in our state,” said ACS CAN Oklahoma Government Relations Director Justin Wood. “Gov. Mary Fallin, Rep. Katie Henke and Sen. Ervin Yen should be proud in knowing that their support of this legislation will prevent future skin cancer diagnoses and save lives.”
The law requires indoor tanning facilities to post a notice that it’s unlawful for a facility or operator to allow anyone under the age of 18 to use a tanning device. Those in violation will be subject to a civil penalty, and anyone may report violations to law enforcement.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with millions of cases diagnosed annually. Avoiding exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the most effective way to prevent skin cancer. This is especially true for children.
An estimated 790 people will be diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in Oklahoma this year alone.