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Kansas Law Reduces Children's Exposure to UV Rays

Roy Jensen, MD

October 07, 2019

At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, we are committed to promoting policies that have the potential to save lives and decrease the incidence of cancer. Earlier this month, legislators passed a bill that prohibits people under the age of 18 from using tanning beds at tanning facilities. This is a huge step forward in decreasing the incidence of cancer, and I am proud that Kansas has joined more than a dozen other states in protecting our children from this known carcinogen.

Habitual use of a tanning bed is dangerous for anyone, but it is especially unsafe for young users because the earlier UV damage begins, the higher the risk of skin cancer. Individuals who use indoor tanning devices before the age of 35 increase their risk for melanoma – the most deadly type of skin cancer – by 59%. The number of skin cancer cases linked to tanning beds every year is 2 times the number of lung cancer cases associated with smoking, and the World Health Organization has classified tanning beds as a Level 1 carcinogen, the same as plutonium and cigarettes.

An estimated 820 new melanoma cases are expected in Kansas this year, but with this new law, we have an opportunity to cut the forecasted rates over the next several years.

Still think that tan gives you a “healthy” glow? I certainly don’t believe so, and I’m happy that the state of Kansas agrees with me.

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