A bill pending in Albany may prohibit teenagers in Merrick from using indoor tanning booths.
The measure, which has already passed the State Assembly, and is expected to be approved by the State Senate, prohibits anyone 16 or younger from using an indoor tanning booth.
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo (R-Merrick), who sponsored the bill in the Senate, is looking to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign it.
Children between the ages of 14 and 17 are currently allowed to tan in machine-generated ultraviolet radiation with parental consent.
The bill’s supporters, including the American Cancer Society, cite evidence that excessive exposure to UV radiation can cause skin cancer. Excessive tanning among children made national headlines when Patricia Krentcil was charged with child endangerment in New Jersey, after she was accused of taking her daughter, then 5, into a tanning booth. She denied the charges.
Tanning has also been glorified on popular shows such as MTV's "The Jersey Shore." Nicole “Snooki" Polizzi was slammed after she announced on "The Jay Leno Show" that she'd like to change the world by installing tanning beds "in everybody's homes."
The American Cancer Society, said that the dangers of indoor tanning were serious enough that even parental permission is irrelevant when it comes to teenagers.
“Society would never allow a 14-year-old to go buy cigarettes with parental consent,” said Blair Horner, a vice president at the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey, told the New York Times.
Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach), who is the bill’s Assembly sponsor and a longtime lifeguard, told the Times he and other Democrats wanted 17-year-olds banned from tanning salons but that Republicans’ concerns about the economic effects on salons led to a compromise admitting them, with parental consent.
California is the only state that bans the use of tanning beds for all minors under 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
This new state legislation could have a major impact on teenagers in Half Hollow Hills, especially as teens seek a summer glow for prom and graduation. What do you think of the bill? Should those 16 and under be allowed in a tanning booth? Take our poll. Have something to say? Tell us in the comments section below.