Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: January 12, 2009
Sen. Andrew Rice
Sen. Rice Files Bill to Protect Health
Author Hopes to Limit Minors Access to Tanning Facilities
One in five Americans will get skin cancer in their
lifetime according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and
every hour an American dies from melanoma, the most deadly form
of skin cancer and now the fastest growing cancer in the country.
For this reason, Sen. Andrew
Rice has authored Senate Bill 544 to help protect Oklahomans
by limiting young adults’ access to tanning facilities.
"Over one million Americans are stricken with
skin cancer each year, and the rate of melanoma cases is skyrocketing
with more than 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths stemming from
melanoma,” said Rice. “What’s causing these
increased rates of skin cancer? Experts point to the fact that
nearly 30 million Americans tan indoors annually, and 2.3 million
of those are teens, and these numbers are steadily increasing
The Oklahoma City democrat pointed to the fact
that since 1992 the indoor tanning industry has seen a fivefold
increase in revenues making an estimated $5 billion annually.
Comparably, the rate of melanoma cases has increased at a tremendous
rate as well. In 1940, the chance of a U.S. citizen getting melanoma
was one in 1500, by 2004 it was one in 67, and last year it was
one in 50. The American Cancer Society estimates in 2008 there
were more than 62,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the U.S.
and more than 8,400 melanoma-related deaths.
Melanoma is the most common cancer among young
adults 25 to 29 and the second most common among those 15 to 29.
It is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25 to 30
and second only to breast cancer in women 30 to 34.
SB 544 was a request bill from AIM at Melanoma,
the largest international melanoma foundation focused on supporting
melanoma research, education, awareness and legislation.
"The American Medical Association and the
World Health Organization have both agreed that indoor tanning
should be banned for those under the age of 18. UV radiation is
a known carcinogen, just like tobacco, and should be treated the
same way. Children and teens are still growing and developing,
and we need to protect their health,” said Valerie Guild,
President, AIM at Melanoma. “AIM at Melanoma strongly supports
Senator Rice's efforts to protect minors. By restricting minors'
access to tanning beds, we will safeguard our children's health."
Under provisions of the bill, those under the age
of 13 would be prohibited from using tanning facilities unless
the individual provided a permission slip from a physician and
the child’s parent or legal guardian stayed at the facility
during the tanning. Those between the ages of 13 and 15 would
be required to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who
would have to remain at the facility while the individual tanned.
Before anyone 16 or 17 could use a tanning facility for the first
time, that individual would have to provide the facility with
a written informed consent statement signed and dated by a parent
or legal guardian. The statement would not only include consent
for the minor to use a tanning device, but also that the parent
agrees that the minor will use protective eyewear.
Currently, 29 other states regulate the use of
tanning facilities by minors.
"People don't realize how dangerous tanning
is. I don't think we'd have so many teenagers tanning if their
parents really knew about the health risks," said Rice. "My
hope is that my bill will help protect Oklahomans and make parents
and others more aware of the dangers of tanning, particularly