The Maryland Save Your Skin Coalition applauds Prince George’s County Council for passage earlier today of a local ordinance prohibiting minors from using indoor tanning devices in the county.
The Save Your Skin Coalition includes the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Maryland Dermatologic Society (MDS) and the American Academy of Dermatology Association. (AADA).
“I am proud to lead the effort to add Prince George’s County to the list of local jurisdictions in Maryland that effectively bans indoor tanning for all minors,” said Councilmember Mary Lehman. “Overexposure to ultraviolet light by children and teenagers is extremely dangerous and greatly increases the chance of developing skin cancer later in life. By following the advice of the World Health Organization, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, we are taking a critical step that will keep more of our kids healthy and safe.”
“Prince George’s County has been a leader in this state on so many important public health issues, such as smoke-free workplaces,” said Bonita Pennino, government relations director in Maryland for ACS CAN. “It’s our hope that the leadership it’s showing on the issue of indoor tanning can help focus statewide attention on this issue and lead to legislation that will protect all youths in Maryland.”
The new ordinance prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning devices regardless of whether a fee is charged. Additionally, tanning facilities will be required to post signs regarding the age restriction and will be required to follow strict regulations with regard to timing devices.
“The AADA and MDS applaud the Prince George’s County Council for passing this ban to protect its young people from the health risks associated with indoor tanning and to potentially save lives,” said Larry Green, MD, FAAD, who testified in support of the bill on behalf of MDS and AADA.
“Researchers estimate that indoor tanning may cause upwards of 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year. I hope that this ban in Prince George’s County will inspire other counties to consider legislation that prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning facilities,” continued Dr. Green.
“Scientific research has left no doubt of the significant association between indoor tanning and skin cancer,” said Henry W. Lim, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. "We appreciate the efforts underway in Prince George's County to help protect young people from this dangerous activity. There is no such thing as a 'healthy' tan, so it is important to guard the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays to reduce the risks of skin cancer and premature aging."
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and melanoma is one of the most common cancer diagnosed in young adults. Using a tanning device before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59 percent and the chance of squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent.
“Prince George’s is forward thinking in protecting teens from skin cancer,” said Jill Allbritton, M.D. a member of the MDS Executive Committee. “This ordinance will make a significant difference in preventing skin cancers among our youth.”
The American Cancer Society estimates that 1,590 Maryland residents are diagnosed annually with melanoma of the skin and 190 are expected to die from the disease. Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are far more common, but the exact number of people who develop or die from these forms of the disease are not tracked by state cancer registries.
About ACS CAN
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.