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Gov. Hassan signs bill prohibiting tanning for minors

By GARRY RAYNO
State House Bureau

June 02. 2015 10:56PM


CONCORD — Young people under 18 years old will be prohibited from using tanning facilities after Gov. Maggie Hassan signed House Bill 136 Tuesday.

The House and Senate shook off charges of turning New Hampshire into a Nanny State to approve the bill supporters say will reduce the risk of skin cancer in the younger generation.

“It is clear that use of tanning beds, especially at young ages, increases the risk of developing skin cancer later in life,” Hassan said. “We must always be working to protect the health and safety of our young people, and by prohibiting minors from using tanning beds — just as we prohibit their use of alcohol and tobacco — we can help reinforce the fact that tanning poses serious health risks and decrease the risk of skin cancer for our younger generations.”

Under the bill, those under 18 years old would be prohibited from using commercial tanning beds, although medical professionals could approve their use for medical reasons.

Under the state’s current law, tanning is banned for those under 14 years old unless approved by a doctor, and parental consent is required for anyone under 18 years old. Parental permission must be renewed after 12 visits to a tanning salon.

Opponents say the current law provides sufficient parental involvement while the proposed change takes away parental rights.

They also argued the ban would drive teens to home-tanning lamps, which are more dangerous than commercial tanning booths.

But supporters of the ban, said tanning for younger people is both dangerous and deadly, noting the World Health Organization has declared tanning booths carcinogenic.

New Hampshire joins 11 other states and Washington, D.C., in banning tanning for those under 18 years old.

The prohibition goes into effect in 60 days.

Narcan approved

Hassan also signed House Bill 271, which allows more people to administer an emergency treatment for a heroin or other opioid overdose.

Supporters say fewer people will die from drug overdoses when Narcan, which temporarily blocks an opioid overdose, is available.

The bill would remove Narcan from the state’s controlled drug list making it available by prescription to a person at risk of overdosing, a family member, friend, or other person close to the person at risk.

The bill also exempts medical professionals who prescribe the drug, and those who administer it from civil or criminal action or from disciplinary action by licensing board.

“The rising rate of heroin and opioid overdoses is one of the most pressing public health and safety challenges facing our state, and while we work to strengthen our prevention and treatment efforts through measures like our bipartisan health care expansion plan, we must also do everything that we can to save lives when an overdose takes place,” Hassan said in a statement. “We have already increased the safe and effective use of Narcan by our first responders and law enforcement officials, and House Bill 271 will help us save more lives by allowing doctors to prescribe Narcan to the families and loved ones of those at risk of an overdose.”

Narcan blocks opioid receptors in the brain which reserves an overdose’s effects and prevents brain damage, a frequent and often permanent consequence.

Experts say the drugs halt the effects long enough for more extensive help to arrive.

Last year, more than 300 people died from drug overdoses, not all from opioids.

The provisions of the bill go into effect with Hassan’s signature.

grayno@unionleader.com


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