In a landmark new law, the state of California has prohibited all children under 14 from using tanning beds. State residents between the ages of 14 and 18 will only be allowed to tan under artificial light if they provide proof of parental consent.

“Skin cancer is a rising epidemic and the leading cause of cancer death for women between 25 and 29,” state senator Ted Lieu, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement. “Indoor tanning is especially harmful because of the intense and dangerous type of UV rays emitted from the tanning beds. Moreover the skin damage is cumulative, so the more exposure one gets younger in life, the worse the harmful effects will be.”

The measure, which passed on Sunday, will kick into effect on January 1, 2012. Legislative efforts to ban minors from tanning beds have been put into motion in other states — New York’s bill is waiting to reach the State Senate — but California is the first to enact a law.

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