OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that makes it illegal for children to use an indoor tanning bed was signed by the governor on Tuesday.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in six high school girls will use a tanning device by their senior year.
Sen. Ervin Yen co-authored Senate Bill 765, which makes it illegal for any child under 18 to use a tanning bed.
“We know that the younger that you use these tanning beds, the greater the incidence of skin cancers caused, and skin cancers are the number one cancers in America,” said Yen, of District 40.
About a dozen other states allow tanning with parental or guardian consent for those under 18, but Yen doesn’t think that’s enough.
“When you look at those states, the teenage tanning did not decrease, and that’s the whole point. We’re trying to decrease teenage tanning,” Yen said.
While Sen. Rob Standridge does think some control is merited, he worries banning all minors could infringe on parent’s rights.
“This is a very strong parental rights state, as you know, and we try to entrust parents with those tough decisions like that, so the question is should a parent be trusted for this with their kid?” Standridge said.
Last week, the bill passed the House of Representatives 57-35, sending it to Gov. Fallin’s desk for her signature.
“An estimated 790 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in Oklahoma this year alone. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer,” James Gray, vice president of government relations for the High Plains Division of the American Cancer Society, said. “By supporting this bill to protect our kids from the UV radiation emitted by these devices, Oklahoma lawmakers are working to prevent future skin cancer diagnoses and save lives.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Fallin signed the bill into law.