California and Vermont enacted under-18 tanning bans in 2012, while Oregon signed a similar tanning ban on May 16 this year.
On June 4, Gov. Brian Sandoval’s signature on Senate Bill 267 made Nevada the fourth state to ban indoor tanning by minors. Any Nevada tanning facilities that are caught violating the ban can face fines of up to $500 for each offense.
Melanoma is a growing problem within our nation’s youth and young adults — particularly in women.
“The popularity of tanning beds is certainly increasing. As a result, we’re seeing a much higher incidence of melanoma among young women,” Samantha Guild, Patient Advocate for AIM at Melanoma said. “Studies have shown that over a 30-year period, there has been a 50 percent increase in young women. They have not seen that sort of jump in young males.”
AIM at Melanoma has been working with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network since 2007, using every opportunity it could to support bills that would protect minors from tanning beds. The organization worked with legislators in order to have the bill introduced.
“This has been an effort that we’ve been working on for multiple years. This year, Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D-Henderson) agreed to introduce a bill,” Guild said. “In the long run, I think it will make a huge difference. I think by the state of Nevada passing this bill, other states throughout the U.S. are going to see this is an issue that legislators are prepared to take up and are supporting. Therefore, they will do it in their states as well.”
Before merging with the James A. Schlipmann Melanoma Cancer Foundation, AIM at Melanoma was originally known as the Charlie Guild Melanoma Awareness Project, in memory of co-founder Valerie Guild’s daughter, who died of melanoma at age 26. Charlie Guild was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma at 25 and died nine months later. Unfortunately, that’s an all too common story.
“It’s not unusual to see young people die who have been diagnosed with this disease,” Samantha Guild, a sister of Charlie, said.
Twenty-five percent of new melanoma cases are found in people under the age of 40. It is the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths in women between the ages of 25 and 30. It’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths behind breast cancer in women between 30 and 34. It’s expected that 440 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Nevada this year.
Tanners need to be weary of ultraviolet radiation even if it comes from sunlight. Using tanning beds is a recreational activity and can be avoided. That’s why laws have been created to limit their use my minors. Groups like AIM at Melanoma encourage sun safety by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing while outdoors.
AIM at Melanoma is the largest international melanoma foundation that focuses on melanoma research, education, awareness and legislation.