Youthful glow to fade under proposed tanning bed rules

Posted January 31, 2013

— Legislation in the state House suggests some people may be too young to tan.

House Bill 18 would bar anyone younger than 18 from using a tanning bed unless they first obtained a physician's prescription. Parental consent wouldn't even be enough to allow a youth to tan, if the proposal is approved.

"We have strong, strong, irrefutable evidence that this is the best thing to do," said bill sponsor Rep. Jim Fulghum, R-Wake.

Fulghum, a physician, said the Youth Skin Cancer Prevention Act is one of the first things he wants to accomplish in his freshman term in the House.

"We are now aware of the severe scientific evidence coming in that some bad things have happened with excessive exposure to UVA and UVB (radiation)," he said.

Thirty-two other states have some form of age restriction for indoor tanning. California and Vermont ban it for anyone under 18, while the others require parental consent.

A similar bill was introduced in the Senate two years ago, but it died in committee. Fulghum said his bill – he calls it a "public health measure" – has strong support from the Republican majority in the House.

Tanning bed, tanning salon Bill makes tanning beds off limits for most teens

"It would definitely hurt business because we have a lot of girls who come in and do things like pageants and get ready," said Jenna Groat, assistant manager of a Planet Beach tanning salon in Raleigh.

Groat estimated that 20 to 40 percent of the salon's customers are younger than 18.

"I feel like, if the parents are OK with letting their child tan with their consent, then I think that’s ... really their right to say 'yes' or 'no' to that, and I don’t feel like anyone should tell them what they can and can't do," she said.

Fulghum said that argument "is tantamount to saying it's their right to let (their children) drink under 18," and he said he doesn't expect stiff opposition from parents or the tanning industry.

"They have to admit – their literature shows – their job is to expose people to about 12 times the strength of the sun," he said of tanning salons.


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  • Casu-Al Feb 2, 2013

    1. Age restrictions have existed for years; from tobacco, alcohol and pornography sales, to driving privledges, voting rights and movie attendance. This will not be the end of the tanning industry at all…just a means to protect children.

    2. Melanoma rates are one of the few cancer rates that are increasing…particularly with young women. At the same time, use of tanning beds by young women is on the rise. Coincidence? Most likely not.

    3. Studies have only recently linked melanoma with tanning bed use. But other skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), along with skin aging and wrinkles, have been linked to tanning for years! Wrinkled and scarred…is that the look wished for by young tanners?

    4. Vitamin D is available in many foods and through suppliments. Besides, it takes less than 30 minutes of sunshine to absorb the day’s need for Vitamin D.

    5. Get your facts from any legitimate mmedical website and learn the facts.

  • carolctaylor Feb 1, 2013

    Read the "Melanoma Snapshot" at the National Institute of Cancer. In the very first paragraph we read, "Increases have been most
    rapid among white women aged 15 to 39 years, in whom
    incidence has increased by 3 percent annually since 1992," Also read, from the AMA this article "Melanoma rates keep rising, especially among young women" and I quote, "“We anticipated that we’d find rising rates, particularly among young women, but we were surprised to see such a dramatic increase in incidence,” he said. He added that the rising cancer rate, particularly for young women, probably is being driven by use of indoor tanning beds." It doesn't take much time to do a search for "melanoma on rise in young." Do some research. Talk to people in the know and who aren't selling tanning beds. The tanning lobby is powerful. Passing this won't be easy, but it can happen if people help.

  • bawolf887 Feb 1, 2013

    If a Democrat proposed this, conservatives would be screaming socialism charges. A Republican proposes this and it's just good sense. What a bunch of hypocrits, but at least it has the merit of being sensible.........for a change.

  • carolctaylor Feb 1, 2013

    This is about "children" not about adults. And who's to say what "moderation" is? Did you know using a tanning bed increases your risk for melanoma by up to 75%? If an adult wants to take that chance and understands what they may be getting themselves into, I don't get it, but "fine." But to give minors that "privilege" is irresponsible. There was a time we didn't buckle up in a car and seat belts weren't even put in cars. My how times have changed. It would be lovely if people acted responsibly with their lives, with other peoples lives and with their children's lives, but not all do. Even with laws on the books. A law won't deter every parent, but at least it will make most stop and think and be responsible when it comes to their children who want to tan.

  • RAA0013 Feb 1, 2013

    Why does every little bit of our lives have to be regulated by the government? I am so sick of it. Like everything else in life - a tanning bed used moderation is not a death sentence. When will people start taking responsibility for their excesses so the government will stop regulating those of us who already live in moderation?

  • carolctaylor Feb 1, 2013

    We agree! The problem is that parents, usually, don't understand what tanning can lead to themselves & let's face it, we live in a society where parents are all too eager to let their children do everything they want to do. If a teen wants to tan, they're apt to let them. There was a time when parents didn't have the info we do now, they thought is was OK, even tanned with their children. I have friends who have buried their children because they let them tan, not knowing. We know now, but we're having a hard time getting the word out. The Tanning Lobby is rich & powerful; they're selling a lie, that people are buying. The melanoma community is often seen as "the bad guys" & the "nay-sayers." As I say, "People don't get it until they get it." Since you're a melanoma survivor, I don't understand your reluctance to support this bill. Maybe I'm reading you wrong. I'm glad the gov't doesn't need to tell your children what to do, but it does need to tell many because their parents aren't.

  • autismawareness Feb 1, 2013

    how about PARENTS DO YOUR JOB!

  • autismawareness Feb 1, 2013

    Autismawareness, that's fine for you to say if you're an adult. Nobody has the right, though, to hand a 14 year old a loaded gun and say commit suicide. That's what our state is currently doing with tanning beds. Playing Russian Roulette with our children. And, sorry, but research melanoma before making that statement

    as a melanoma survivor, i have done a little research. and our gov't shouldn't need to tell my kids what to do. PARENTING!

  • littleriver69 Feb 1, 2013

    Why do you need a tanning bed to get a tan anyway? Summer will be here soon won't it?? What's the big deal?

  • marcuslock460 Feb 1, 2013

    This sounds well and good, but just like anything else, you have to try to think about unintended consequences. Ban or not, teens will continue to seek tans and they will seek out unmonitored home tanning units and unsafe habits in the natural sun. Research shows that the risk of using home tanning beds is far greater than using them in salons - presumedly because of exposure time and because salon workers are trained to not allow clients to overexpose. As much as doctors would like you to believe it, research has not shown a statistically significant correlation between tanning in salons and melanoma - only with home use and medical phototherapy. Melanoma is clearly a very sad thing, but when talking about legislation, emotion and anecdotal evidence must be put to the side. Unfortunately, a very small percentage of young people have always gotten melanoma, and continue to. But melanoma in young people is not on the rise according to National Cancer Institute data.