New law prohibits Mass. minors from indoor tanning

The goal is to prevent young people from developing melanoma

BOSTON (WWLP) – Fourteen states in the country, including Massachusetts, ban all minors under the age of 18 from using a tanning bed. The goal is to prevent teenagers from developing melanoma.

You have to be at least 18 years-old to vote, to enlist in the military and to watch an R-rated movie. Now, Massachusetts residents must also be a legal adult to use a tanning bed. Westfield state Senator Don Humason told 22News he believes the new law will reduce the risk of skin cancer among young people.

“Eighteen year-old and under should not use tanning beds because it is harmful to them, especially at that young age,” said Senator Humason.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who begin indoor tanning at a young age have a higher risk of developing melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The new law went into effect on Thursday, prohibiting minors from using and working near tanning beds. Before that, people under the age of 14 could tan indoors only if an adult were present. Those between 14 and 17 only needed parental consent. We asked whether these age-restrictive laws go too far.

Chairman of the legislature’s Committee on Public Health, state Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) said, “We’re not trying to get in the middle of parents and kids. We should have age limits that based on evidence that protect young people from these harmful risks.”

Tanning salon owners argue the law will hurt their business. They believe indoor tanning is safe as long as it is done responsibly.

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