The American Cancer Society (ACS) says Missouri’s rate of melanoma cases has doubled in the last nine years. Nationwide, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer. The organization says the greatest avoidable known risk factor for skin cancer is the use of indoor tanning devices. The ACS says tanning before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59%. State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, is proposing to prohibit Missourians under 18 from using tanning beds, regardless of parental permission.
“Tanning even one time before you’re 25 can drastically increase your chances of getting melanoma,” says Schroer.
Twenty-one percent of Missouri girls in 11th grade and 30% of Missouri girls in 12th grade have used indoor tanning equipment. Nationally, about 16% of girls in the 12th grade use tanning beds.
Schroer wants to ban the underage use in tanning salons, health clubs, apartments, and condominiums, regardless of whether a fee, membership dues, or other specified forms of payment are charged for access to the tanning equipment. He says about 15 other states have similar laws that he wants the Missouri Legislature to enact.
Under current Missouri law, Schroer says businesses that provide tanning services are required to check the age of their clientele, confirm parental consent of those under 17 and explain the health risks associated with traditional tanning.