Brown bans California minors from tanning beds in landmark bill

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation earlier today that renders tanning beds off-limits to minors in the state of California. The bill will take effect starting on January 1, 2012, and was part of a handful of other bills related to health initiatives the governor signed in one swoop.

Minors at least 14 years of age are currently able to use an ultraviolet tanning device with parental consent. Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) drafted the bill to fully prevent minors from the dangers and adverse effects of ultraviolet rays.

“I praise Gov. Brown for his courage in taking this much-needed step to protect some of California’s most vulnerable residents – our kids – from what the ‘House of Medicine’ has conclusively shown is lethally dangerous: ultraviolet-emitting radiation from tanning beds,” said Lieu in a statement.

California is the first state to enact a ban on tanning beds. Other health-related legislation signed by Brown includes AB 499, which allows children 12 and older to seek HPV vaccinations and preventative care from sexually transmitted infections without parental consent, and SB 946, which requires health plans to provide early intervention behavioral coverage for autism.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, UV radiation from tanning devices can cause skin cancer, skin burns, premature skin aging and both short- and long-term eye damage. Tanning salons use lamps that emit both UV-A and UV-B radiation, which penetrate both top and deeper layers of the skin.