A bill that would ban the use of tanning beds by youth under age 17 passed the House on a 117-21 vote Thursday and is now headed to the governor’s desk.
The bill, which was passed unanimously by the Senate last week, received bipartisan support among House members. If Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signs the bill into law, Connecticut will become one of only a handful of states to implement a ban.
Last month, New Jersey passed similar legislation, and, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, California and Vermont also have banned anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning beds. But 33 other states regulate youth tanning bed use by means such as requiring permission from a parent, guardian, or physician.
Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, R-Glastonbury, said that an outright ban is necessary based on new scientific findings about the dangers of exposure to the ultraviolet light that tanning beds emit.
“As we now know, ultraviolet radiation emitting tanning devices have been added to the list of the most dangerous forms of cancer,” Srinivasan said. “So for us to make the step of banning — without any carve-outs either from a parental guardian or coming from a physicians office, is definitely the right thing for all of us to do.”
Srinivasan was referring to the recent designation of ultraviolet rays from tanning beds as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization.
Rep. Philip Miller, D-Ivoryton, said he felt the legislation was a necessary step despite efforts by the tanning industry to self-regulate.
“There is an overwhelming pressure for young people to conform to beauty standards which call for tans come prom time or graduation time,” Miller said. “What we’re seeing is while most of the professionals we’ve met in this industry are very conscientious and are pretty knowledgeable and are willing to give the proper guidance, we’re seeing damage done to young people, perhaps who don’t have their judgment developed, and that’s why there’s a need. I think this is a good compromise and a good first step.”