Dear [Decision Maker],
As public health professionals we are very concerned about the 72% increase in the rates of melanoma in New York State over the past decade. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. The rates of Melanoma are rising faster than almost any other type of cancer in New York, especially among young, white women.
According to the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC), individuals who use indoor tanning beds before the age of 30 increase their risk for deadly melanoma by 75%. In 2009, IARC classified the rays emitted from indoor tanning beds as a known carcinogen and put them in the same category as tobacco smoke, arsenic, and asbestos. A 2012 study released this month (Journal of Clinical Oncology) that followed 73,000 young women for 20 years found that those who used tanning beds when they were teens or in college had a higher risk of skin cancer compared to those who did not tan indoors.Yet the current state law allows youth between the ages of 14 and 18 to use tanning beds every day if they want as long as they obtain parental consent. We know the current law is inadequate because nearly 30% of teen girls report using a tanning bed. Parents are often uninformed about the serious health risks associated with indoor tanning and the marketing from salons is often misleading. New York State has the chance to become the third state in the nation (after CA and VT) to ban indoor tanning for minors by passing Senate bill S.2917. This bill has already passed the Assembly and has many Republican co-sponsors in the Senate. No groups are opposed to this bill other than the Indoor Tanning Association, a trade group focused on increasing the profit of their members.
The New York State Public Health Association strongly supports this legislation to protect our young people from the predatory marketing of the tanning industry, to address the rise in Melanoma and to reduce healthcare costs. We do not allow minors to purchase cigarettes or alcohol if they have a note from their parents. Indoor tanning should fall into that category and be prohibited for minors. Please support S.2917 and if not already, please sign on to be a co-sponsor and help get this bill scheduled for a vote. Promoting cancer in teens is not a viable business model.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]