Utah and a handful of other states may soon join California, which at the start of this year became the first state to make it illegal for teenagers to use cancer-causing tanning beds, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.
The Beehive State, which has the highest rate of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer), has required parental consent for minors to fake tan since 2007. But according to studies, tanning salons have failed to enforce the law, the Tribune reports, so state Sen. Patricia Jones is drafting legislation to ban anyone under 18 from using the devices.
In 2009, the World Health Organization classified tanning beds as a human carcinogen after several studies linked their use to skin cancer -- a risk that increases with each tanning session.
“The government needs to send a clear and unambiguous message that tanning beds are not safe," Samantha Guild of a melanoma research organization told the paper.
In Central Utah, almost half of 12th-grade girls have used a tanning device at least once during the past year, according to the Tribune.
Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are also considering adding tanning beds to the list of substances and activities teenagers can't partake in, the paper reports.
In California, lawmakers had the support of the medical and insurance communities; however, the tanning industry tried to block the ban and argued that teens would instead use unregulated home tanning appliances. State Sen. Ted Lieu, the law's sponsor, said they would instead "do what Snooki on Jersey Shore does. They will do spray tanning," which is a safe way of getting a glow.