Bill Aims To Ban Minors From Tanning Beds - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Bill Aims To Ban Minors From Tanning Beds

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 By: Claire Powell


A bill has passed the Senate Human Resources Committee that would ban tanning for all minors, ages 18 and under.

The bill is being pushed by health officials and dermatologists because of the severe health risks it poses to teenagers.

"If you're exposed in the tanning bed before 35, risk of Melanoma goes up 70 percent," said Doctor Leslie Christenson, a dermatologist at McFarland Clinic in Ames.

Dr. Christenson said there are three main reasons why they're pushing for the bill to pass: tanning beds are a lead carcinogen, leading cause of skin cancer and it's technically addicting.

"We're trying to approach these tanning beds and devices like alcohol and tobacco and limited the exposure in our youths," said Dr. Christenson.

Many teenagers see tanning as a mark of status and idolize tan skin.

"I go tanning for prom and homecoming and it'd be embarrassing to be the whitest person there," said 17-year-old Savannah Dayton.

Health officials say they're working hard to change that outlook.

"Our society uses it as a sign of health and beauty and it's too bad we cant reverse that," said Dr. Christenson.

"The American Suntan Association came out in favor of the bill and recognized there may be some dangers for young people and they did the responsible thing and supported. I'm very pleased about that and one of the things that makes me optimistic we can get this done," said Democratic Representative Herman Quirmbach.  

However, tanning salons know that if the bill is passed they may see some decline in business. Sizzlin' Cabana in Ames requires all of their minors to have a parent co-sign a document if they want to tan.

"I think it's a personal choice between a parent and their child. I don't think the law should tell you, you can't tan, I think that's a personal choice," said Christina Jennings, a manager at Sizzlin' Cabana in Ames.

If the bill is passed, it could take effect as soon as July 1, 2014. 

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