Tanning bed restrictions move forward

Published 5:07 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014

MONTGOMERY — Growing concerns about the health risks associated with indoor tanning has led to an Alabama bill meant to reduce the use of tanning bed devices among minors.

The House Health Committee Wednesday approved a bill that will put restrictions on tanning bed usage for minors. Proposed by state Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga, the bill prohibits minors under 18 from using the tanning bed without parental consent.

“Because sun (and UV) exposure in childhood and the teenage years can be so damaging, policymakers in some states are regulating minors’ use of tanning devices (like tanning beds),” the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website read.

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The bill, known as HB 254, states that 16 and 17-year-old children are required to provide parents or guardian written in-person consent, and 15-year-old children must provide the same consent in addition to the parent or guardian being present during the tanning process. It also states it would be unlawful for anyone under the age of 15 to use a tanning device.

According to the Centers of Disease Control Prevention, indoor tanning “exposes users to UV-A and UV-B rays, which damages the skin and can lead to cancer.” People younger than 35-years-old that use the tanning bed have a 59 percent higher risk of melanoma.

Body Builder co-owner Kirk Jones said the bill is a necessary piece of legislation for the state. Body Builder is a health club that provides indoor tanning bed services.

“Anything that would promote safe tanning and responsible tanning is always good,” Jones.

Jones said that he has no fears that the bill threatens his business Body Builder,.

“I’m not worried about it all,” he said. “It can’t hurt our business, because we don’t have what I would consider children tanning here.”