Mary­land raises in­door tan­ning age limit to 18

Dorchester Star - - WHAT’S UP - By CANDICE SPECTOR cspec­tor@ches­pub.com

BAL­TI­MORE — The Mary­land Depart­ment of Health an­nounced, Mon­day, July 1, it would be­gin alert­ing res­i­dents to an in­creased age limit for the use of in­door tan­ning de­vices, set to be en­forced Oct. 1.

Un­der cur­rent reg­u­la­tions, mi­nors be­tween the ages of 16 and 18 are re­quired to ob­tain writ­ten con­sent from a par­ent or guardian to use the tan­ning equip­ment.

With the new law, passed March 1, the age limit will be set at 18 with­out ex­cep­tions, pro­hibit­ing youth tan­ning bed use en­tirely.

Af­ter Oct. 1, tan­ning fa­cil­ity own­ers will be re­quired to ver­ify the ages of their pa­trons and refuse ser­vice to any­one un­der the age of 18.

De­vices such as sun­lamps, tan­ning booths and tan­ning beds are among those set to be re­stricted from mi­nors.

In a July 1 press re­lease, the MDH said vi­o­la­tors of the new law will be sub­ject to penal­ties and fines.

MDH Deputy Sec­re­tary for Pub­lic Health Fran Phillips said the leg­is­la­tion is nec­es­sary be­cause the state is “see­ing an in­crease in the an­nual in­ci­dence rates of melanoma.”

“The use of tan­ning de­vices is pop­u­lar among youth, with 7.2% of Mary­land high school stu­dents re­port­ing in­door tan­ning in 2016,” Phillips said. “The goal of this new re­quire­ment is to pro­tect our youth from the harms of tan­ning de­vices.”

The harm­ful ef­fects of in­door tan­ning in­clude “skin can­cer, pre­ma­ture skin ag­ing, burns and ad­verse re­ac­tions if used with cer­tain med­i­ca­tions, foods and cos­met­ics,” ac­cord­ing to the MDH.

MDH Sec­re­tary Robert R. Neall called the health risks as­so­ci­ated with in­door tan­ning “con­sid­er­able” and said “the younger peo­ple are when they start, the worse the con­se­quences can be.”

The Amer­i­can Academy of Dermatolog­y re­ported “us­ing tan­ning beds be­fore age 35 can in­crease the risk of melanoma by 59 per­cent.”

The MDH said it “will spread the word about the new leg­is­la­tion through pub­lic mes­sag­ing, ed­u­ca­tional out­reach and no­tices to tan­ning busi­nesses.”

Fa­cil­ity own­ers and op­er­a­tors will then be “re­quired to post a no­tice from MDH about the new law.”

The MDH de­fined a tan­ning fa­cil­ity as “any lo­ca­tion where a tan­ning de­vice is used for a fee, mem­ber­ship dues or other com­pen­sa­tion.”

But the MDH noted the “law does not ap­ply to pho­tother­apy de­vices used by health care prac­ti­tion­ers in the di­ag­no­sis or treat­ment of dis­ease or in­jury.”

Gov. Larry Ho­gan signed the tan­ning bill into law in May, along­side sep­a­rate leg­is­la­tion that lim­its to­bacco sales to those 21 years or older.

Mary­land is one of 17 states and Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to pro­hibit the use of tan­ning beds by mi­nors. It’s the 13th state to raise the to­bacco-buy­ing age to 21.

Both laws are set to be im­ple­mented statewide Oct. 1.

COUR­TESY OF EX­EC­U­TIVE OF­FICE OF THE GOVER­NOR

Gov. Larry Ho­gan signs a bill in­creas­ing the le­gal age for tan­ning bed use to 18, set to be en­forced Oct. 1.

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