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Advocacy Update: OSMA Testifies in Support of Tanning Ban for Minors

This week, OSMA joined the Ohio Dermatological Association (ODA) testifying in support of House Bill 159, legislation that would prohibit use of indoor tanning services by those under the age of 18 in Ohio, in a hearing before the House Health Committee. HB 159 is sponsored by Rep. Brett Hudson Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) and Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville).

OSMA and ODA have pursued this issue for several years now, and continue to urge legislators to pass this ban in order to protect Ohio’s children from intentional and cumulative exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds. Others in the medical community, including the Ohio Hematology Oncology Society, the Ohio Osteopathic Association, and the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northern Ohio, also provided supportive testimony for HB 159 during Tuesday’s hearing.

Dr. Shannon Trotter testified on behalf of OSMA and ODA, telling the committee members that protecting the public, especially adolescents, and requiring appropriate oversight of the indoor tanning industry will “have a profound effect on improving public health and reducing overall health care costs.”

Dr. Trotter also detailed the scientifically proven link between UV radiation from tanning beds and the development of skin cancer, and explained how as a practicing dermatologist, she has seen firsthand many cases of patients who utilized indoor tanning services at a young age develop devastating and life-changing, if not fatal skin cancers.

Current state law allows children under 16 to use tanning services if accompanied by a parent or guardian, and 16 and 17 year-old children can use tanning services with parental consent.

In 2014, the US Surgeon General issued a Call to Action on skin cancer which touted laws to ban youth access to tanning beds as effective. That same year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized changes to its regulation of tanning beds, including a strong recommendation against the use of tanning beds by minors under the age of 18, and a reclassification of sun lamps and tanning beds based on risk. This instituted stricter regulations for the purpose of protecting public health, and sunlamp products are now required to have a visible black-box warning that states explicitly that the product should not be used on those under 18 years of age.

OSMA and ODA will continue to push for HB 159 to be passed in the Ohio Legislature, reinforcing the federal actions taken to increase protection for adolescents and young adults against the dangers of indoor tanning. Stay tuned for updates in the coming months as this bill moves through the legislative process.


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