Supporters of a ban on teenagers using tanning beds will have to try again next year to get the measure passed by the Iowa Legislature. A bill calling for such a restriction is not expected to make it out of committee today, meaning it’s “dead” for this year’s session.
A national group of physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, reports 8,700 people died of melanoma last year and tanning beds increase the risk, especially for teens.
Jenny Henderson owns a tanning bed salon in Cedar Rapids. She welcomes 16 and 17 year olds without restrictions, but requires parents to sign a waiver for anyone younger. “A number of the people who are under (18) who come in to tan actually come in with their parents,” Henderson said. “They come in because they’re going on a trip and they don’t want their child to get overexposed.” Henderson says tanning beds are good for providing “a base tan.”
The proposed restrictions come at a time when many teens are tanning in preparation for spring break or prom. Tony McDermott, 17, of Cedar Rapids doesn’t like the idea of being banned from a tanning salon. “I would be mad, I mean, I want to get my ‘bronze on’ before I go on spring break so I don’t get burned when I’m down there,” McDermott said.
Cicely Deaton, 16, of Cedar Rapids says she and other teens understand the slightly increased risk of overexposure by artificial tanning, but should still be able to make their own decisions about their bodies. “That’s something that should be decided by yourself because…it’s your consequence you have to deal with,” Deaton said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for a ban on the use of artificial tanning beds for those under the age of 18.
By Dave Franzman, KCRG-TV