Alabama bill seeks to ban minors from using tanning beds - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alabama bill seeks to ban minors from using tanning beds

Posted: Updated:

It's prom season, and lots of teenagers are trying to look their best for the big night. Indoor tanning is big. But health experts warn that tanning bed use puts people at a greater risk of skin cancer.

Just recently, New Jersey's Governor signed a bill banning tanning beds to anyone under age 17. A similar bill is making its way through an Alabama house committee. Representative Ronald Johnson (R-Coosa) has a bill, which seeks to ban anyone under the age of 18 from using a commercial tanning bed. More than 30 states regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors.

Elite Tan owner Vicki Taylor says, whether it's for prom or a trip to the beach, her clients want that special glow. Indoor tanning salons are a multi-billion dollar industry.

Michelle Bain of Oxford, Al. says she used to tan in her teens and twenties, sometimes daily. But she stopped tanning after seeing a mole on her skin, an early sign of the skin cancer melanoma. Bain had the mole removed but says she caught the cancer early, and stopped the cells from spreading.

Bain supports the House bill.

"Teenagers especially are all about what's in front of them, and taking this option away from them to save their lives down the road...you can't argue with that," Bain says.

Dermatologist Vera Soong says there is no such thing as a healthy indoor tan. Dr. Soong says UV rays emitted by tanning beds are more powerful than those emitted from natural sunlight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds those who begin tanning before age 35 have a 70 percent higher risk of melanoma.

"It's going up in the younger age group, and it's directly related to tanning beds," Dr. Soong says.

Joseph Levy, executive director of the International Smart Tan Network, says the industry has always been in favor of parental consent for minors who tan. Levy, however, insists the center of debate should be sunburn prevention, no matter the source.

"If you tell people they can not use an indoor tanning bed and they restricted from that use, then we know they will tan more aggressively outdoors in an uncontrolled environment," Levy says. "...People know they are overstating information in an attempt to influence policy and people are tired of that.

Vicki Taylor's salon already follows strict guidelines.

"If they are younger than 16, they have to come in with a parent and a parent has to sign a form. Anyone above 16 has to sign their own consent form that they know the dangers of tanning and they have to wear their eyewear to protect their eyelids and eyes," Taylor says. "We just really promote a safer, more educated way of tanning versus letting them come in and just putting them in a bed."

Several local tanning salon owners tell ABC 33/40's Marissa Mitchell that they have similar parental consent measures in place. Levy says that's pretty much the industry standard and salons are subject to federal regulations as well. But when it comes to that House bill, if a salon owner violates the law, he or she would be fined $200 for the first violation and up to $500 for subsequent violations.

Mitchell was unable to get in touch with Rep. Johnson, however, that bill is in the House health committee.

Dr. Soong, an advocate for the bill, says the group will have an uphill battle to get it passed this legislative session.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Hoover Police arrest Georgia murder suspect

    Hoover Police arrest Georgia murder suspect

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:14 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:14:29 GMT
    Hoover Police Patrol and Special Response Team (SRT) officers arrested a suspect wanted by the Union City, GA. Police Department for murder. The suspect was taken into custody without incident shortlyMore >>
    Hoover Police Patrol and Special Response Team (SRT) officers arrested a suspect wanted by the Union City, GA. Police Department for murder.  The suspect was taken into custody in the Ross Bridge area.
    More >>
  • Highway shooting suspect in custody in Kansas City

    Highway shooting suspect in custody in Kansas City

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:59 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:59:51 GMT
    Authorities believe the man responsible for recent highway shootings in the Kansas City area is in their custody. Police held a brief news conference Thursday announcing they had arrested a suspect butMore >>
    A suspect has been taken into custody after an investigation into random highway shootings in the Kansas City area.More >>
  • Hamilton Softball team remembers Callie McNeill

    Hamilton Softball team remembers Callie McNeill

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:25 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:25:39 GMT
    Students at Hamilton high school can relate all too well to the don't text and drive campaign. One of their classmates died last summer while texting and driving. Students and staff members at the schoolMore >>
    Students at Hamilton high school can relate all too well to the don't text and drive campaign. One of their classmates died last summer while texting and driving. Students and staff members at the schoolMore >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Auburn season opener vs Arkansas picked up by SEC Network

    Auburn season opener vs Arkansas picked up by SEC Network

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:37 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:37:33 GMT
    The SEC Network will televise Auburn season opener against Arkansas on August 30 at Jordan Hare Stadium.The SEC Network made the announcement on Friday and also said the network's pregame "SEC Nation"More >>
    The SEC Network will televise Auburn season opener against Arkansas on August 30 at Jordan Hare Stadium.The SEC Network made the announcement on Friday and also said the network's pregame "SEC Nation"More >>
  • Hoover Police arrest Georgia murder suspect

    Hoover Police arrest Georgia murder suspect

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:14 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:14:29 GMT
    Hoover Police Patrol and Special Response Team (SRT) officers arrested a suspect wanted by the Union City, GA. Police Department for murder. The suspect was taken into custody without incident shortlyMore >>
    Hoover Police Patrol and Special Response Team (SRT) officers arrested a suspect wanted by the Union City, GA. Police Department for murder.  The suspect was taken into custody in the Ross Bridge area.
    More >>
  • 7-year-old found with loaded gun at school

    7-year-old found with loaded gun at school

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:11 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:11:34 GMT
    Jefferson County deputies say a teacher at Center Point Elementary School observed a child showing a handgun to another student. The teacher immediately took the gun and notified the principal and schoolMore >>
    Jefferson County deputies say a teacher at Center Point Elementary School observed a child showing a handgun to another student.More >>
  • UAB spring football game is rained out

    UAB spring football game is rained out

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:47 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:47:37 GMT
    Wet weather ruined UAB's spring game plans.The Blazers canceled their final spring scrimmage, which was scheduled for Friday night at West Campus Field, due to rain. It will not be made up.Football coachMore >>
    Wet weather ruined UAB's spring game plans.The Blazers canceled their final spring scrimmage, which was scheduled for Friday night at West Campus Field, due to rain. It will not be made up.Football coachMore >>
  • YH Sleep and your relationship

    YH Sleep and your relationship

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-04-18 14:44:35 GMT
    New research may have you thinking about sleeping closer to your spouse at night.   Researchers asked more than one thousand people to describe their preferred sleeping habits and to rate the qualityMore >>
    What does your sleeping habits say about your relationship with your spouse?More >>
  • Northport Police launch program to teach kids gun safety

    Northport Police launch program to teach kids gun safety

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:22 AM EDT2014-04-18 14:22:16 GMT
    Northport Police Department is launching their gun safety program for children Pre-K to 3rd grade this summer. The goal of the program is to teach children what to do if they come in to contact withMore >>
    Northport Police Department is launching their gun safety program for children Pre-K to 3rd grade this summer.More >>
  • Tuscaloosa police investigating assault

    Tuscaloosa police investigating assault

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-04-18 13:15:32 GMT
    Deputies, along with homicide and CID investigators were called to the 4300 block of Virginia Drive Thursday in regards to a stabbing. When they arrived, they found at least two people hurt. Deputies sayMore >>
    Deputies, along with homicide and CID investigators were called to the 4300 block of Virginia Drive Thursday in regards to a stabbing.More >>
  • Highway shooting suspect in custody in Kansas City

    Highway shooting suspect in custody in Kansas City

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:59 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:59:51 GMT
    Authorities believe the man responsible for recent highway shootings in the Kansas City area is in their custody. Police held a brief news conference Thursday announcing they had arrested a suspect butMore >>
    A suspect has been taken into custody after an investigation into random highway shootings in the Kansas City area.More >>