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Governor signs bill banning minors at tanning salons

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:34 p.m. HST, Jul 2, 2014

Tanning salons are no longer for minors in Hawaii, according to a bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

The act, which began as House Bill 611, makes it illegal for a tanning salon to allow a person younger than 18 years old to use any tanning equipment.

Salon operators who violate the law can face a fine of up to $250 for the first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense, according to the new law.

It does not apply to anyone who owns tanning equipment for personal use.

Abercrombie said the law is necessary to protect the health and welfare of Hawaii's young people.

Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is related to ultraviolet radiation, and the World Health Organization has declared tanning beds a carcinogen, said Shane Morita, surgical oncologist at the Queen's Medical Center, after Abercrombie signed the bill.

Rep. Gregg Takayama, who co-introduced the bill, said ultraviolet rays from tanning beds are three to five times worse than the UV rays from the sun.

"Many teenagers don't recognize the high risks involved in ultraviolet radiation," he said. "They think that spending an hour in a tanning salon is the same as spending an hour outside at the beach, but it's not."

According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is one of the most common cancers in people younger than 30.

Takayama said Hawaii is the 11th state in the nation to ban tanning salons for minors.

The act went into effect upon the governor's signature.

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