Pensylvania puts limits on tanning by teens

Click play to watch the report from Action News (WPVI)
May 6, 2014 4:13:29 PM PDT
On Tuesday Governor Corbett signed a new indoor tanning law that will keep anyone under the age of 17 from using tanning beds.

Many other states have already passed similar laws.

Pennsylvania's law comes later than other many states but it also goes a step further.

Under the new Pennsylvania law, indoor tanning will be banned for anyone 16 and younger, 17-year-olds will need parental consent, warning signs will have to be posted inside salons, and ALL customers will have to sign a written warning statement

Doctors, nurses, and many others like the new law.

"I think it's great," says Dr. George Cotsarelis, Penn Medicine's chief of dermatology.

He says, simply put, the new indoor tanning law will save lives.

"We know indoor tanning causes melanoma so by putting restrictions on it for young kids it's definitely going to prevent people from getting melanoma and dying," says Dr. Cotsarelis.

He says tanning beds are not safe. Just like cigarettes, they increase your risk of cancer.

Kids are especially susceptible because their skin is more active.

"That time period is really critical and you don't want to be bombarding your skin with UV light that causes skin cancer down the road," he notes.

Many people we spoke with today support the new law, especially this father of two.

"I think young people are sometimes unaware of the health damages and it's better to have parental guidance," he told us.

"I think it's good because kids are too young to make decisions about skin, the healthy of skin," another person told us.

Anastasia Weckerly says she has skin cancer in her family. She knows the potential effects of tanning beds so she stays away.

"You're putting yourself in a situation where you are harming yourself on purpose, why would you do that?"

Still we know many people do use indoor tanning- especially before prom season.

Again, it does greatly increase the risk for melanoma.

Action News called the Indoor Tanning Association. They have not returned our call.

But they have said in the past, they support parental consent.

Most of the law goes into effect in 60 days. State inspections of tanning salons will begin in 2 years.