To the editor,
With prom and graduation season right around the corner many young people are tempted to seek out indoor tanning facilities.
Some may be surprised to learn that in New York State the minimum tanning age is 18. This is thanks to Gov. Cuomo signing a law 2018 prohibiting the use of indoor tanning booths for anyone under the age of 18 regardless of parental consent. Many still think that the minimum age to use an indoor tanning booth is 17 with parental consent, but tanning salons allowing anyone under the age of 18 to use their tanning booths are breaking the 2018 law which could result in a $2,500.00 fine. However, even with the age restrictions youth are able to seek out friends and family members with tanning beds in their homes where youth under age 18 are able to tan.
Indoor tanning is dangerous for numerous reasons. The exposure to ultraviolet radiation increases the risk of skin cancers, including melanoma which is the third most common cancer in people 15-39. With melanoma being the most deadly form of skin cancer, one should ask themselves: Is the risk worth the tan? According to the NYSDOH if you indoor tan before the age of 30, you have a 75 percent increased risk of melanoma and your risk increases each time you tan. A tan may look nice, but do we really know what a tan IS? Having tanned skin means that your skin has been damaged by ultraviolet rays.
There is no such thing as a safe “base tan.” Many think that getting a “base tan” is beneficial and will prevent burning or further sun damage, but this isn’t true. If you have a “base tan” from a tanning booth, you have already exposed your skin to damage that could last a lifetime. With melanoma being the third most common cancer in people age 15-39 there is no question as to why NYS has opted to increase the tanning age. The goal behind the law is to stop children from making uninformed decisions that could have serious and deadly health risks.
Parents and adults can make a difference by saying NO to indoor tanning. Before you step in a tanning booth, ask yourself: Is the risk worth the tan?
Coordinator of Community Health
Oswego County Opportunities