The bill would prohibit those under age 17 from using tanning beds once Governor Andrew Cuomo signs it into law, as he is expected to do.
Dan Humiston -- the owner of Tanning Bed chain and a past president of the national Indoor Tanning Assoc. -- says there's no difference between tanning outside in the sunshine and in a tanning bed because he says the ultra-violet light is the same.
"The beauty of a tanning salon is that it's a controlled environment, and, unlike the sun, we can make sure that people don't get a sunburn," he says, calling Tuesday an "unfortunate" day for the people of New York.
He says it also sends a message the government knows better than the parents. Humiston is also concerned about the potential impact on his business, saying every bit of revenue contributes to generating a profit.
Roswell Park Cancer Institute had pushed for passage of the bill. Dr. Ilene Rothman, part of Roswell Park's department of dermatology, calls it a huge step in preventing the risk of melanoma.
"Melanoma is a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. It's the second most common cancer in those aged 15 to 29," Rothman says.
She also adds the effective indoor tanning is cumulative -- saying the longer a person tans, the more a person tans, the younger a person starts tanning, the worse the risk.
New York currently bars indoor tanning for children under 14, but allows 14- to 17-year-olds indoor tanning with parental permission.
California is the only state that bans the use of tanning beds for all minors under 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 31 states and a few counties restrict some minors, the group said.
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Horner cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data that showed nearly 10 percent of 14-year-olds, 12 percent of 15-year-olds and 15 percent of 16-year-olds have used indoor tanning facilities. The busiest times are in the spring, as boys and girls prepare for school dances and for what's called a "base tan" for the summer.
"By banning indoor tanning for those 16 years old and younger, the legislation provides significant cancer protections for those teens," Horner said Thursday. "However, we believe that 17-year-olds deserve the same protections as other minors and we will continue to pursue legislation to protect all young people from the dangers of indoor tanning."
The Assembly passed its version of the bill on Thursday afternoon.
"By increasing the age that individuals can begin to expose themselves to these harmful ultraviolet radiation devices, we hope to reduce their lifetime exposure to this potentially cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said.
The American Cancer Society blames the popularity of tanning booths for the rising number of cases of skin cancer among young people. It's a claim disputed by tanning booth operators, who say the artificial rays produced in the booths are safe if used properly. John Overstreet of the national Indoor Tanning Association noted the booths provide its users with Vitamin D, and health agencies have noted a Vitamin D deficiency is now common.
"This is a disservice to parents who do their homework," said James Oliver, CEO of Beach Bum Tanning, with 53 salons in New York and New Jersey. He said the state law provided greater control of tanning than teens who will now lay outside unsupervised.
He blamed the cosmetics industry, which dominates sunblock sales and has waged a public relations campaign to persuade people that sunshine and tanning is bad for them. Instead, he said Vitamin D deficiency in America is widespread.
He said New York's law will cost salons about 5 percent to 10 percent in sales to that age group, but the stigma that the booths are harmful could cut sales in every age group.
The bill's sponsors, Democratic Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and Republican Sen. Charles Fuschillo, both of Long Island, noted that the World Health Organization classified tanning devices as a carcinogen in 2009.