State House panel approves bills to require HPV vaccinations of boys and girls and ban use of tanning beds by children

The state House Health and Welfare Committee approved two bills Thursday to require that boys and girls to be vaccinated for the human papilloma virus before sixth grade and to generally ban use of tanning beds for those under 18. HPV causes cervical and oral cancer, and tanning is a cause of skin cancer.

House Bill 311 would allow parents to withhold consent for the HPV vaccination for any reason. House Bill 310 would bar anyone under 18 from using a tanning bed without a prescription. Under current law, use of a tanning bed by 14- to 17-year-olds requires consent of a parent or guardian.

Gov. Steve Beshear issued a press release praising the bills and the prime sponsor, Democratic Rep. David Watkins, a retired physician from Henderson. “Every year, more than 9,000 Kentuckians succumb to various forms of cancer, making the commonwealth the worst state in the nation for cancer-related deaths,” Beshear said. “Last week, I outlined seven major goals to reduce our rate of cancer deaths, as well as improve Kentucky’s other dismal health statistics, by 2019. . . . I am optimistic that House members will look favorably upon these common sense measures to improve the health of Kentuckians and vote for their passage.”

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