OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - A new law went into effect Wednesday, prohibiting minors from utilizing tanning booths.

SB 765, supported in part by the Oklahoma State Medical Association, was passed last spring and took effect November 1. 

“We are pleased that lawmakers chose to implement a common-sense measure that will help reduce many preventable cancer deaths,” said Oklahoma State Medical Association President Kevin Taubman, MD. 

Taubman applauded Sen. Ervin Yen, MD (R-Oklahoma City) and Rep. Katie Henke (R-Tulsa) not just for their efforts in passing the bill but for working with concerned citizens’ groups who advocated for the legislation. 

The Oklahoma State Medical Association Student Section was heavily involved in passing the legislation. 

The medical students adopted the bill as their primary public health agenda item and worked with Sen. Yen, Rep. Henke, the OSMA government affairs team and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to rally support and lobby for the bill. 

“We are thrilled to see this new law take effect,” said Samantha Beck, president of the OSMA Student Section at the OU Health Sciences Center. “This has been a great learning experience and we are so grateful to have had the support of lawmakers who were willing to listen to groups of concerned citizens.”

The medical association reports that people who utilize tanning booths at a young age are nearly 70% more likely to develop melanoma and other dangerous skin conditions later in life. 

“While we cannot stop every future cancer, this law is a big step in helping us prevent many of them,” said Chelsea McKenzie, president of the OSMA Student Section at OU-Tulsa School of Community Medicine. “Today is a win for public health and we thank the lawmakers and advocacy groups who helped make this day possible.”