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Tell Us: Should Minors Be Banned From Sunless Tanning Beds?

A legislation to ban teen tanning in Illinois heads to Gov. Pat Quinn.

Legislation to ban minors from indoor tanning beds was sent to Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday after being approved by the Illinois Senate.

House Bill 188, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), would ban Illinois minors age 17 and younger from UV tanning beds. Currently, minors ages 14 to 17 are allowed to tan if they provide a parent's signature.

Spray-on tanning is exempt from the legislation, as is phototherapy, which applies to situations where a physician supervises tanning when it is necessary to treat a medical condition.

Radogno said in a press release that she sponsored the bill to protect Illinois minors from the serious health risks involved with indoor tanning beds.

“Not only do children not realize there are serious health affects associated with indoor tanning, their parents aren’t aware either. I believe House Bill 188 serves a dual purpose: saving lives and educating the public,” Radogno said in the release. “Indoor tanning is a known carcinogen. Research shows that just one session in a tanning booth increases the chance of melanoma by 20 percent  and the risk of developing melanoma due to tanning bed use increases by 75 percent for people younger than 35.”

Illinois, California and Vermont are among states that have recently passed laws to restrict minors from visiting indoor tanning salons. California and Vermont are the only states with an outright ban on minors under age 18.

In 2010, 14 different states worked to pass legislation prohibiting minors from tanning indoors, and in 2012 that number increased to 20.

Some Illinois communities, including Chicago and Springfield, already have bans on minors tanning indoors. The legislation would level the playing field for businesses across the state, Radogno said.

Heather Eagleton, Illinois Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), urged Quinn to sign the bill.

“We thank Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Representative Robyn Gabel for their leadership on this important issue. The incidence of melanoma in the United States is increasing rapidly in children and young adults. It is now the second most common form of cancer for individuals aged 15 to 29,” Eagleton said. “Young people under the age of 18 are particularly at risk for the damages associated with UV radiation and exposure, since their skin is not fully developed and their skin cells are dividing and changing more rapidly than those of adults.”

Tell us: Do you think minors should be banned from sunless tanning beds? 

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