Outlaw Tanning Bed Minors

February 1, 2012 by staff 

Outlaw Tanning Bed Minors, Five years after she pushed to require minors to get parental consent before using tanning beds, Sen. Patricia Jones, D-Holladay, wants to ban underage tans altogether.

She said Friday she will draft legislation that would ban the use of commercial tanning beds by minors. If lawmakers agree, Utah would join California, which became the first state to outlaw tanning for minors, effective as of Jan. 1. A handful of other states – Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island – are also considering prohibitions.

“They want to go to prom and have a tan not realizing the health ramifications,” Jones said.

Utah’s current law, passed in 2007, requires parents to annually sign a consent form that includes information about the health risks of tanning. The form also specifies the number of times the teen can tan each year. But the law was not enforced, Jones said. In a limited review of the practices of indoor tanning salons in Salt Lake County, the University of Utah department of dermatology found teens could easily tan without parental consent.

Jones had considered tightening the law by requiring parents or guardians to attend each tanning session. That would have been easier to enforce and likely would reduce the number of times teens tan. Banning tanning entirely is a cleaner option, she said.

“It would save taxpayers’ money really because they wouldn’t have to go out enforce and administer it,” Jones said. “Why should society provide something that is harmful to everyone?”

Health data show that nearly a quarter of all Utah female high school sophomores and seniors have used a tanning bed at least once in the past year. In the region covered by the Central Utah Public Health Department, 44.6 percent of 12th-grade girls had used a tanning device one or more times during the past year.

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