Ohio bill would ban teens from indoor tanning unless prescribed by a physician

COLUMBUS, OH (FOX19) - A state representative from Hamilton has introduced legislation that would prohibit the sale of indoor tanning to anyone under the age of 18 unless permission has been granted through a prescription by a physician.

Courtney Combs (R-Hamilton) and Lorraine Fende (D-Willowick) introduced the legislation on Wednesday.

The current law requires that consumers under 18 obtain written consent from a parent or legal guardian prior to receiving tanning services. House Bill 119 seeks to eliminate such wording to protect teens from the early onset of serious medical conditions.

"Many have clamored that if we prohibit the use of tanning beds for minors we might as well ban poolside and beach tanning, but that argument is moot," Combs said. "The amount of radiation produced during indoor tanning, in many cases, is stronger that the sun. There is direct evidence that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning damages the DNA in the skin cells. Studies have shown that 80 percent of skin damage happens before the age of 18."

According to data from the American Cancer Society, skin cancer cases have rise from 500,000 to 1.2 million annually over the last 20 years. Among women between the ages of 25-29, melanoma is the leading cause of cancer-related death. Women between the ages of 30-34 die from melanoma more often than other forms of cancer, with the exception of breast cancer. For men between the ages of 20-29, melanoma is the most deadly form of cancer.

The bill will now be referred to a House committee for further discussion.

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