Why California Is Right to Ban Tanning Beds for Teens

No more gym, tan, laundry for you, teenage California guidette!

Guidos and guidettes might be more common in Jersey, but every state has clueless teenagers who fear not death via melanoma. That's why California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law on Sunday that forbids teenagers between 14 and 18 from using tanning beds in the Golden State (kids under 14 were already banned).

Maybe it's more evidence that CA deserves the moniker "nanny state." And yes, teenagers can still lay in the real sun all they want.

But a study published last week in the Journal of Dermatology found that the risk of cancer from the UVA1 rays, the type most commonly used in tanning beds, is higher than previously thought. Experts before had worried most about UVB and UVA2 rays, but the new study found that UVA1 rays can also make cells cancerous.


Tanning beds are like cigarettes for your skin. They cause cancer, and there's science backing that up. Studies show that teens who regularly use tanning beds are eight times more likely to get melanoma than folks who have never fake-baked. And it's well known teenagers don't really grasp the death thing. They feel immortal. That's why we don't let them buy cigarettes. And it makes sense not to let teenagers use tanning beds.

California's law will be the strictest tanning bed law when it's enacted on January 1, 2012. Most other states also restrict tanning bed use, and Brazil has outlawed the beds altogether.

Get your spray tan on instead! Even Snookie has traded in tanning beds for mist-style self-tanner. Shouldn't our teenagers be at least as smart as Snookie?

You can keep up with our Science Editor, Kristen Philipkoski, on Twitter, Facebook, and occasionally Google+


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Why can't people simply see the simple, elegant solution to this nanny state bullshit. If you tan, smoke, gorge yourself on food, etc., your insurance premiums go sky high. Just like my auto insurance premiums skyrocket when I get a speeding ticket, health insurance premiums should increase based on an individual's risky behavior.

Why is being made accountable for your actions so difficult to comprehend?