ASA State Regulatory Program Gears Up for Busy 2018

State regulatory advocacy efforts continue to be an important part of the American Suntanning Association’s efforts to promote the responsible use of sunbeds in professional salons.

Efforts to restrict UV tanning in salons for clients under age 18 and efforts to add redundant and expensive licensing and inspection programs – including promulgation of bureaucracy-heavy regulatory regimes – continue to be the most common topics of indoor tanning legislation in state houses.

As of early December, Arizona, California, Missouri and South Carolina all had active bills pre-filed for 2018. ASA – which utilizes a tracking service to detect new proposals nationwide – expects more than a dozen other states to follow suit.

In 2017 ASA engaged in issues in 14 states — 11 of which involved legislation proposing under-18 UV tanning bans and three involved the introduction of indoor tanning regulatory programs. ASA successfully engaged counsel, worked with state groups or self-defeated legislation in 12 states in 2017 – including all three proposals to develop new regulatory programs in California, Nevada and New Mexico.

“We expect some of these proposals to re-emerge in 2018, and some new states will dip their foot into the waters,” ASA Director of Scientific Affairs Joseph Levy said. “California will once again be a focal point. ASA will need support from California salons to continue to be successful there.”

Levy has traveled to 37 state capitols for ASA since 2013, working diligently to oppose the incorrect science presented by bill proponents as the cornerstone of our lobbying efforts — pointing out that the data on the risks of UV exposure from sunbeds — when separated by the location of the unit — show that non-salon sunbeds are the source of significant risk in the existing data, but that tanning salons have not been isolated as a source of significant risk. Research now explains this important caveat clearly.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, AIM at Melanoma and state dermatology groups have continued to pressure state legislators to introduce state legislation preventing clients under age 18 from using UV tanning services in salons.

“Our opponents continue to distort the issue,” Levy said. “But when we have a chance to explain the nuance of UV science and demonstrate how the professional market is being responsible, we’ve developed support for our efforts in state capitols.”

ASA has actively lobbied against under-18 UV tanning restrictions since the association was formed in December 2012.

Two states passed new under-18 UV tanning laws in 2017: West Virginia and Oklahoma. ASA worked with council and members in both states. In both states legislative leaders reneged on early commitments to oppose the bill in the final hours of the legislative session to allow the bills to pass.