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Illinois bans tanning beds for youth

Staff writer |
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn today took steps to protect the health of youth across Illinois by signing legislation that prevents anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning beds and electronic cigarettes.

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The Governor was joined by legislators, health professionals, survivors of melanoma and their families, and teens who have recognized the dangers of skin cancer and nicotine addiction. Today's action is part of Governor Quinn's commitment to protecting and improving the health of the people of Illinois.

"Our young people have their whole lives ahead of them and we want them to be well, grow and thrive in Illinois. I am signing these new laws today so that our youth and their families can be spared the consequences of very serious and preventable health problems that are caused by dangerous habits formed at a young age. Together these measures will protect the health of Illinois youth and save lives in the long-run," said Governor Quinn.

Sponsored by State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), House Bill 188 prevents youth under the age of 18 from using tanning beds, which studies have shown can lead to cancer. According to research, people who begin using tanning beds at a young age have a 75 percent higher risk of developing melanoma. Over the past 40 years, the rate of young women with melanoma has grown by 800 percent.

HB 188 passed with the strong support of the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association. The new law takes effect January 1, 2014.

Governor Quinn also signed Senate Bill 1756, sponsored by State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) and State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago), which bans anyone under the age of 18 from using electronic cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products.

While electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, these products do contain nicotine, which is the highly addictive substance that makes smoking difficult to quit once someone begins. Dependence on nicotine is the most common form of chemical dependence, impacting almost 20 percent of all Americans.

The law takes effect January 1, 2014.

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