Posted: April 09, 2013 | Senator Craven, Senator Gratwick

Ignoring medical science Governor and Senate Republicans block skin cancer protection for youth  

AUGUSTA–In a vote of 19-16, Senate Republicans failed to put the best interest of Maine teens ahead of politics by upholding Governor LePage’s veto of a bill to protect youth from skin cancer by preventing children under the age of 18 from using tanning salons.

“There are times when science and medicine should supercede politics, and this is one of those times,” said Senator and Doctor Geoff Gratwick, D-Bangor, the sponsor of the bill. “It’s disappointing we could not put kids first and override the governor’s veto.”

According to medical studies, even minimal exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds before the age of 25 can increase the risk of developing melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, by 75 percent. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults ages 25 to 29, with one American dying every hour from this disease.

To override a veto, the Senate needed a two-thirds majority, or 24 votes. Senator Ed Youngblood, R-Brewer, originally voted in favor of the measure, but flipped his vote to support the governor’s veto of this bill.

“This is a public health issue and a public health hazard,” said Senator Craven, D-Lewiston. “It is not in Maine’s best interest to allow children to use equipment that causes melanoma.”