Raleigh, N.C. — A proposal to ban North Carolina minors from using indoor tanning beds is once again headed for the state House floor after winning approval from the the House Health Committee in less than five minutes Wednesday.
House Bill 158 has been titled "The Jim Fulghum Teen Skin Cancer Prevention Act" after late Rep. Jim Fulghum, R-Wake, who was a primary sponsor and a fierce advocate when the ban bill was originally filed in 2013.
"He was very passionate about this," sponsor Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, told the committee. "I felt like it was a great way for us to remember Jim."
This year's bill is virtually identical to Fulghum's measure, which passed the House 94-22 with strong bipartisan support. The Senate declined to take up the 2013 bill.
Current law allows minors 13 and up to use indoor tanning beds with a note from a parent, but Lambeth said that's not well enforced. The bill would prohibit owners or operators of tanning beds to allow anyone under 18 to use them.
"There’s growing evidence to support this change," Lambeth said. "Skin cancer is a major public health problem."
Lambeth said skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., affecting approximately 5 million people per year and costing about $8.1 billion a year to treat.
The legislation has the support of the American Cancer Society and the North Carolina Dermatology Association.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many studies worldwide have linked the use of indoor tanning equipment to increased melanoma rates. Eleven other states and many European countries also prohibit minors from using the beds.
The measure is likely to reach the House floor next week.