New Tanning Bed Law Goes Into Effect Oct. 1, 2019

Maryland Department of Health launches outreach about new law starting Oct. 2019 that bans tanning devices for minors 

 Baltimore, MD —The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) will start outreach efforts this week to alert residents that the use of tanning devices will soon be off limits for users under the age of 18.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2019, tanning facilities cannot allow minors under the age of 18 to use any tanning device, including sunlamps, tanning booths or tanning beds. Owners, employees or operators of tanning facilities will be required to verify the age of anyone using a tanning device. Violations will be subject to civil penalties and fines.

“The research clearly shows considerable health risks from indoor tanning. The younger people are when they start, the worse the consequences can be. Without a doubt, the use of tanning devices increases the risk of skin cancer,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. 

According to the MDH 2018 Cancer Report, 1,715 Marylanders were diagnosed in 2015 with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that indoor tanning causes more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States annually.

In addition to skin cancer, the health risks associated with tanning include premature skin aging, burns and adverse reactions if used with certain medications, foods and cosmetics.

“The use of tanning devices is popular among youth, with 7.2 percent of Maryland high school students reporting indoor tanning in 2016,” said Fran Phillips, MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health. “We are seeing an increase in the annual incidence rates of melanoma in Maryland. As such, the goal of this new requirement is to protect our youth from the harms of tanning devices.”

According to the American Academy of Dermatology: “Just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.” The AAD states that using tanning beds before age 35 can increase the risk of melanoma by 59 percent. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that if no one younger than 18 ever used a tanning bed, 61,839 melanomas and 6,735 deaths due to melanoma would be prevented annually.

MDH will spread the word about the new legislation through public messaging, educational outreach and notices to tanning businesses. Facility operators will be required to post a notice from MDH about the new law. Any location where a tanning device is used for a fee, membership dues or other compensation is considered a tanning facility and required to post the information. This law does not apply to phototherapy devices used by health care practitioners in the diagnosis or treatment of disease or injury.

Operators can download a copy of the notice and view the MDH 2018 Cancer Report from the MDH website.  For more information, call the Maryland Department of Health Environmental Helpline at 1-866-703-3266

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