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Senate Acts to Help Prevent Skin Cancer Among N.C. Teens

The North Carolina Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that would help prevent skin cancer among some of the state’s youngest citizens – by prohibiting children under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning beds.

Under House Bill 158, the Jim Fulghum Teen Skin Cancer Prevention Act – named in honor of the late state representative and Wake County physician – North Carolina would join 11 other states that currently ban the use of tanning beds by children younger than 18.

Sens. Wesley Meredith (R-Cumberland), Tommy Tucker (R-Union) and David Curtis (R-Lincoln) filed an identical bill in the Senate.

“The overwhelming majority of scientific research shows indoor tanning presents an unnecessary danger to our children,” said Meredith, Tucker and Curtis. “We are proud to support legislation that will help protect our young people from an increased risk of skin cancer and ultimately save lives.”

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States each year are linked to indoor tanning. And research suggests that teens and young adults who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 59 percent.

“My husband supported this bill because he understood the devastating impact that skin cancer is having on young people – especially young women. And as a health care professional, he knew that the most cost effective health care is prevention,” said Dr. Mary Susan Fulghum, wife of Rep. Fulghum. “I want to thank Sens. Tucker, Meredith and Curtis for their leadership in sponsoring this legislation.”

The bill is supported by a host of N.C. medical providers and advocates, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, N.C. Advisory Committee on Cancer Coordination and Control, N.C. Child Fatality Task Force, N.C. Dermatology Association, N.C. Medical Society, N.C. Oncology Association, N.C. Pediatric Society and AIM at Melanoma.