OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin today signed into law Senate Bill 765, which will protect Oklahoma’s children from the dangers of indoor tanning.
The law prohibits the use of indoor tanning devices by minors under the age of 18. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network supported the measure and worked alongside lawmakers and skin cancer survivors to advocate for the bill’s passage.
Today’s development is especially meaningful to Henryetta resident Terrie Gordon, who survived advanced squamous cell carcinoma at age 50. She underwent 10 surgeries and 35 radiation sessions. Gordon started using indoor tanning beds at age 13.
“What I went through was incredibly difficult for me and my family, but I was lucky because it was not melanoma,” Gordon said. “Tanning became an addiction for me – and I started when I was just a kid. I don’t want anyone else to endure what I did after years of harmful UV radiation and exposure. I am so happy and relieved that Oklahoma has taken this crucial step to protect kids.”
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with more than 5 million cases being 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. 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.
ACS CAN applauds the Legislature and Gov. Fallin for protecting children from the UV radiation emitted by indoor tanning beds. This action will prevent future skin cancer diagnoses and save lives.