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Cancer Action Group Encouraging Tanning Restriction Laws At Next Utah Legislature

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A tanning bed switched off.

In its 17th Annual How-Do-You-Measure-Up Report, which sets eight policy benchmarks for state legislatures to meet and ranks them on how they do, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says Utah only succeeded in meeting one benchmark while many others placed firmly in the red. 

One area where Utah failed was in restrictions placed on tanning device use by minors. Brook Carlisle explains the consequences of that.

"If you use indoor tanning devices before the age of 15, your melanoma risk goes up 59%, which is a pretty staggering statistic I would say," said Brook Carlisle, an ASC-CAN representative.

"The damage you do to your skin at the age of 15 by using an indoor tanning device accumulates over time and the course of your visits. Right now, Utah law says if you're under the age of 18, you are supposed to have parental consent every single time you go to use an indoor tanning device. Best practice is no one under the age of 18 is able to use a tanning device. There are 17 states with that policy right now and we know that it works," she said. 

Carlisle's statistics, gathered from nationwide health surveys given to high school-age children, say by their senior year, 1 in 6 high school girls will use indoor tanning devices. In the upcoming election year, ASC-CAN will focus its efforts in Utah on encouraging legislation to enforce their desired restriction.

"We are going to be working with Representative Brad Dawe on that piece of legislation," she said. "Utah's current parental consent law went into effect in 2012, and we hope to take that a step further."