Bill would ban minors from using tanning beds

Written by Megan Lello and Radio Pennsylvania | Apr 9, 2013 4:00 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Some midstate teens may use indoor tanning facilities to get ready for the prom and graduation seasons.  

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But a new proposal from state Representative RoseMarie Swanger could soon bar Pennsylvanians under the age of 18 from using tanning beds, even if they have permission from a legal guardian.

The Republican from Lebanon County says other behaviors deemed harmful to minors are banned, so indoor tanning should be, too. "We protect children by prohibiting their use of tobacco, which is also irrefutably linked to cancer. We also ban them from consuming alcohol. Likewise, for minors, we mandate seatbelt use, require bicycle and motorcycle safety helmets, and do many other things to help protect their safety."

The measure would also require Pennsylvanians to show ID before gaining access to an indoor tanning facility.

Tanning beds give off ultraviolet radiation, which has been linked to skin cancer, or melanoma.

A study from the International Journal of Cancer has found using tanning beds before the age of 35 can increase the risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent.

Swanger's bill has been referred to the House Health Committee.

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Comments: 2

  • Brian Erskine img 2013-04-10 08:30

    By comparing tobacco to tanning you are cheapening this very important public health message. Representative Swanger compares tanning to tobacco. It's a little shocking that a public official would even say smoking and tanning in the same sentence. According to the CDC tobacco related deaths accounted for +4800% (not a typo) more deaths than melanoma, 443000 vs 9199 for melanoma and the melanoma number has barely changed in 30 years. Stop the comparisons to smoking!
    When evaluating risks the World Health Organization classifies sunbeds and sunlight as the same. What's next, banning daycares from taking kids outside to play in the summer, public pools closing to kids from 10-2pm? Other things in the same category as sunlight and sunbeds according to WHO are salted fish, paint, sawdust and birth control pills which teenagers can get at age 14 without their parents even knowing. No better parents than the government I guess.
    The real risk is from phototherapy equipment used by dermatologists to treat acne and psoraisis at 96% increased risk. The only way to incriminate tanning salons was to lump them in with this equipment along with home units. You have to scroll to page S251 but the article states at the end that “When professional sunbed usage is considered independent of home and medical exposures there is no association with melanoma”. Here is the link –

  • Bill Adams img 2013-04-10 13:46

    Why isn't there similar concern for children heading soccer balls and doing unavoidable, irreversible brain damage? The power of a soccer ball hitting a child's head is similar to a punch from an amateur boxer. And, the effects are cumulative, damaging retinas, hearing, and brain function. Football players and boxers, along with European soccer players, are feeling similar effects. Heading soccer balls is dumbing down America's children in every possible way.

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