Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 11.29.47 AMOMG, it’s a good day for Washington. Yesterday Governor Jay Inslee signed Bill 6065 into law. Bill 6065 bans the use of tanning beds for minors in Washington State. The bill will prohibit those under age 18 the right to use an indoor tanning device. Those facilities that break the law — they’ll be fined up to $250 per violation starting in mid-June. Children and teens with a doctor’s prescription can use the tanning bed (this will happen VERY rarely). If I were able to pass for a teen (let’s be honest, that was gone years ago) I’d sign up immediately for the undercover work. :-) I’m that fired up in ensuring this law works…

For data & numbers (if you’re looking for that) on indoor tanning risks read: Clear And Present Danger: Indoor Tanning

I’m emotional about this as a survivor of malignant melanoma. That’s why I cried when I read this news. I cry because I’m excited and overwhelmed about the hope for turning the tide on rising melanoma diagnoses in children, teens, and young women and I cry because I am also reminded by the stories of loss. I never thought my career in medicine would connect me with politics. It’s moments like this that I’m so glad our public health officials and politicians work hard. Legislation helps and does improve the chances of success for us living into old age.

I see this as a big win for public health, but also feel this as a big win for me as a mom. I really do want to survive to see my kids grow old. Just this week I had to catch my breath while reading about the death of movie star James Rebhorn. Once you’ve had cancer this happens all the time. You’re reading something seemingly innocuously and then you stumble. “Holy moly,” you think, “sorry to hear that guy died.” Then you read how he died (melanoma) and the huge lump comes into your throat. “That could’ve been me.” So many unexpected reminders of the fortune to be alive after having a skin cancer diagnosis.

My hope is that this law will protect millions of children and teens from the increased likelihood of getting skin cancer. My hope is that during my lifetime we see melanoma diagnoses start to go down. If you haven’t seen the below video Dear 16-Year-Old Me, please watch. To celebrate the astounding progress the state of WA just made by joining California, Oregon, Illinois, Texas, and Vermont in banning tanning for kids share this video on your social channels.

Hastag Yippeee. This is going to saves lives…thanks, Washingtonians.