Senate approves teen tanning bed ban

Posted May 13, 2015

tanning bed

— After refusing for years to even hear similar bills, the state Senate on Wednesday voted 48-2 to ban the use of indoor tanning beds by people under age 18.

House Bill 158, entitled the "Jim Fulghum Teen Skin Cancer Prevention Act," is on its way to the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory.

The late Rep. Jim Fulghum, R-Wake, championed the bill in 2013. Similar past proposals were filed by former Sen. Bill Purcell, D-Scotland.

Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Union, said Wednesday that he's an "involved parent" but had allowed his daughter to use the beds in the past because he wasn't aware of the increased risk of skin cancer they pose.

"I did not have any idea that a tanning bulb was 14 times more damaging than regular sunlight," he told the Senate, adding that studies show young women who use indoor tanning beds face a 59 percent higher risk of melanoma.

Tucker pointed to Sen. Louis Pate, R-Wayne, who was treated for melanoma, and to Sen. Wesley Meredith, R-Cumberland, who lost his first wife to melanoma at age 24.

Fulghum's daughter Emily was in the gallery to watch the vote.

The only two "no" votes came from Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson. Neither spoke during the debate, but at the close of session, Apodaca stood to explain those votes.

"We do believe it is a parent’s privilege and right to decide what their children do in this instance. If a parent deems it's OK for their child to go to a tanning bed, though I wouldn’t agree with that choice myself, I think the parent should have that right," Apodaca said. "So, that was the only reason, and out of respect to the Fulghum family, I didn’t want to talk while they were here."

A spokesman for McCrory said Wednesday afternoon that the governor will sign the measure. It would take effect October 1, 2015.


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  • Terry Watts May 15, 2015
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    Funny that you support the Nanny State in this respect. What happened to good parenting and mom and dad banning the tanning bed??? Or is there an outbreak of unaccompanied minors trying to get tan that WRAL hasn't reported upon???

  • Abrams Tanker May 14, 2015
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    Yea, it's stupid to attempt to prevent cancer. We should allow smoking in public places again and use asbestos in our building materials. Melanoma is a good thing for kids to get, right?

  • Crystal Stewart May 13, 2015
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    Charlie, you have to be 21 to drink, as far as I remember - so fact check before you start spouting off at the mouth. There are many flaws within the system, yes .... but all of these kids running to the tanning bed before prom, it just isn't safe or healthy. Not everyone get's skin cancer, but then again not everyone get's lung cancer that smokes. Pick your battles.

  • Charlie Jaxon May 13, 2015
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    IS there in that the you will not put a "ban" on in the state of NC? Why not ban alcohol and pain pills? OH that's right. NC condones the use of those by anybody of any age! When do you think that this self righteous state going to stop trying to tell it's people how to live the life that they work for? It won't! Unless you stop voting these people into office!!!