Lincoln- Friday, Senator Jeremy Nordquist introduced two bills that will reduce teens' cancer risks by prohibiting the use of tanning beds for minors and eliminating students' exposure to tobacco use in school settings.
The Cancer Prevention Act and the Tobacco-Free Schools Act both aim to reduce the risk of cancer in teens.
The Skin Cancer Prevention Act, which would make it unlawful for those under 18 to use tanning beds, is in response to research which links tanning bed use in adolescence to increased skin cancer prevalence.
"Research shows that those who use tanning beds before age 30 increase their lifetime risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent," said Nordquist.
"If we regulate other behaviors, such as alcohol and tobacco use, tattoos, and body piercings, to protect young adults from long-term consequences, then we have a responsibility protect our vulnerable youth from preventable skin cancers," he said.
The Tobacco-Free Schools Act would require that all schools implement a "tobacco-free environment" policy, which would apply to students, staff, and visitors both on school grounds and at school-sponsored events. According to the Nebraska Department of Education, less than one-third of secondary schools have such a policy in place.
"Schools cannot teach about the dangers of tobacco use and at the same time, allow staff and visitors - respected authority figures - to continue to model contrary behavior," said Senator Nordquist. "It is our obligation to create a healthy learning and working environment and do our best to expose children to positive behaviors before kids begin a lifelong habit that is difficult to break.