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Minimum Age Laws for Tanning Salons Poorly Enforced

In two U.S. states, tanning salons routinely ignore parental consent rules

THURSDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Young people in Minnesota and Massachusetts can often use indoor tanning salons without parental consent despite both states requiring this for users under the age of 16 and 18 years, respectively, according to study findings published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Jean L. Forster, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues conducted a study in 200 tanning salons in the two states, in which 15-year-old girls attempted to book tanning sessions without parental consent.

In total, 81 percent of the businesses sold a session on at least one of two tries to the underage girls. Larger establishments, dedicated tanning centers, those with a minimum age of sale and those requiring employee certification were less likely to sell sessions. However, even these outlets sold tanning sessions without parental consent between 44 percent and 62 percent of visits.

"Significant work needs to be done at the individual and community levels to change the social norms around having a tan, to reduce opportunities to tan indoors by changing policies and business practices, and to educate community members about the serious risks of indoor tanning," the authors conclude.

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