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NJ Tanning Mom Fuels Changes in Tanning Bed Laws

The controversy surrounding the tanorexic New Jersey mom who was arrested for taking her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth has fueled stricter rules on the use of tanning beds by minors.

On May 14, 2012, the New Jersey Assembly’s Women and Children Committee voted to pass a law that would ban children under age 14 from using tanning beds and would teens ages 14-17 to get written parental consent before using a tanning bed. The proposed measure will now be sent to the full N.J. Assembly for voting.

Advocates of stricter tanning-bed rules presented legislators with reports showing that the use of indoor tanning facilities by individuals under age 35 significantly boosts the risk of skin cancer.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states regulate the use of tanning beds by minors, while another 23 states have introduced legislation aimed at banning the use of tanning facilities by people under 18.

The use of tanning booths has come under fire after Patricia Krentcil, a 44-year-old Nutley, N.J., mom was arrested in April 2012 for allegedly taking her daughter into a tanning booth with her. Krentcil denied the allegations, but officials at her daughter’s school claimed the five-year-old girl came into school one day with second-degree burns on her face and body.

Meanwhile, the Skin Cancer Foundation continues to caution against the use of tanning beds, especially by teens, pointing out that tanning-bed users are 74% more likely to develop skin cancer than those who have never tanned indoors.

More recently, Swedish clothing giant H&M was slammed after it used super-tan Brazilian model Isabeli Fontana in a new ad in the U.K. Critics said Fontana’s dark-brown tan could encourage sun worshiping, which causes premature wrinkling and skin cancer.

In response, H&M apologized, saying, “We are sorry if we have upset anyone with our latest swimwear campaign. It was not our intention to show off a specific ideal or to encourage dangerous behavior.”

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