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Health Advocates Want All N.J. Minors Banned From Tanning Salons

File - A woman uses a tanning bed (Photo credit: GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

File – A woman uses a tanning bed (Photo credit: GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Health groups in New Jersey are calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation to prohibit all minors from using indoor tanning facilities.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

The American Cancer Society says the rate of skin cancer, otherwise known as melanoma, has increased in the Garden State by 43 percent over the last 10 years and says indoor tanning booths are a major factor.

“It’s no coincidence that we’re facing a melanoma crisis at the same time there’s a proliferation of indoor tanning salons,” Ethan Hasbrouck, N.J. director of advocacy for the American Cancer Society of N.Y. & N.J. said in statement.

That’s why the American Cancer Society and others want to ban all indoor tanning for anyone under the age of 18.

Currently, New Jersey law prohibits anyone under the age of 14 from using tanning booths. Teens between the ages of 14 and 17 are required to have written parental consent.

“You would never allow 15, 16, 17-year-olds to legally smoke cigarettes, which is dangerous. We believe the same rule applies to indoor tanning,” American Cancer Society vice-president Blair Horner told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.

The American Cancer Society says out of the 68,000 Americans who will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, 2,430 of those cases will be in New Jersey.

“Indoor tanning increases risk of developing cancer. Many teens don’t see their behavior as dangerous and many parents don’t fully understand what’s at stake,” said Hasbrouck.

“It should be an adult decision and an adult decision only,” Horner said.

Calls for changes in the law come one week after a Nutley woman was accused of bringing her 6-year-old daughter into a tanning booth.

Patricia Krentcil pleaded not guilty to a child endangerment charge last Wednesday, saying she “would never permit” her daughter to go tanning.

In 2011, lawmakers in New York considered similar legislation to ban indoor tanning for all minors.

For more information from the American Cancer Society, click here.