Today, the streets of cities like Boston and New York swarm with tattoo parlors, but few realize these are extremely recent developments. Many states took the extreme measure of banning tattoos entirely during the 1960s, when the hysteria of hepatitis outbreaks reached critical mass. It was illegal to get a tattoo in New York City between 1961 and 1997, forcing artists to operate on an underground basis. In Massachusetts, tattooing was illegal all the way up until 2000, with severe penalties including possible jail sentences. Today, all states allow tattooing, although the rules for minors vary from state to state—some allow kids to get inked with parental permission while others require waiting until 18, no exceptions.