Archive for Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kansas considers banning minors’ use of tanning beds

February 13, 2014


For Kansans younger than 18, the trip to the tanning bed to get that desired golden glow may become a thing of the past.

State House members are set to vote, perhaps next week, on a bill that would ban minors from tanning beds and fine salons $250 for breaking the law.

At issue is the risk of life-threatening melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer associated with exposure to sunshine or tanning beds. Evidence is mounting that those exposed to ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning have a much higher risk of developing melanoma, said Lawrence dermatologist Lee Bittenbender.

The House Health and Human Services Committee passed HB 2435 last week, sending it to the full House for a vote. Committee members approved an amendment that would allow physicians to prescribe tanning for minors with health concerns such as psoriasis.

“We’re not stepping into unknown territory,” said committee Vice Chairwoman Susan Concannon, R-Beloit. “This is a trending issue.”

Illinois, Nevada, Texas, California and Vermont currently ban minor tanning bed use. American Cancer Society representative testified during last week's hearing that tanning bed use is as carcinogenic as smoking, Concannon said.

“Because of that, the rationale in society is to treat it the same as tobacco,” Concannon said.

Kristi Lawrence, owner of Mango Tan, 4000 W. 6th St. in Lawrence, said her shop screens all clients’ skin before deciding if and how long they should be under the bulbs. One percent of her clients would be affected by this bill.

All teenagers under 18 already need a parent's permission at Mango Tan, Lawrence said, and no one under 15 is allowed to tan.

As a mom of three girls, Lawrence’s biggest objection to the bill is that the government is interfering with her parenting decisions. She understands the delicacy of teenagers’ skin.

“It’s not just about indoors,” she says. “We need to worry about them outdoors, too. But does the government need to control how much time they spend at the pool outdoors? Where do you draw the line?”

Micaela Riley, 15, said you take your own risk when you decide to tan.

“Take precautions if you think you burn easily, and if you have melanoma in your family then obviously you shouldn’t tan, but I don’t think it should be a law,” Riley said.

Bittenbender, of the Dermatology Center of Lawrence, said about 70 percent of people who go to tanning salons are caucasian girls and women from 16 to 29 years old. Melanoma shows up years later, he said. “If you went and got tanned, and within a week, month or even a year got cancer, that would get people’s attention a lot more.”

Depending on how new the bulbs are and how long one stays under them, the ultraviolet irradiation is more detrimental than the sun, he said.

Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, offered an amendment requiring parental authorization for minors, which failed because the majority of committee members said they didn’t think businesses would properly verify consent.

Four of 11 committee members were in complete opposition to more regulation for an already well-regulated industry, Hawkins said.

“I believe what will happen is people that want to allow their children to tan are going to allow them to go to somebody’s home to tan, and then you aren’t going to have a professional looking over that situation,” Hawkins said. “We’re as a government saying, we know what’s best for people. And it’s time we stop doing that.”

During the testimony, Hawkins said, one representative said she received several calls from mothers who were glad tanning would be banned because it eliminates a difficult conversation with their children. Those are just parents who don’t want to parent, Hawkins said.


Robert Rauktis 4 years, 2 months ago

Tanning beds are God's gift to skin cancers and wrinkling; like putting free cigarettes in the ration kits in WW I.

Addie Line 4 years, 2 months ago

I feel they should need a parent's consent if under 18. But the government shouldn't be interfering in the parent and child's informed decision just because the government has decided this is what's best. If they're going to start parenting for us maybe they can make a law mandating children to wear helmets when on bikes, scooters and skateboards. Traumatic Brain Injuries are dangerous too. Some are also of the opinion that artificial sweeteners are harmful to children, so maybe we should ban those for children and mandate organic foods for those under 18. Like the article mentions, should we be regulating children's time outside in the sun, then? Make wearing sunscreen a law? Where do you draw the line?

Gary Denning 4 years, 2 months ago

These folks are exposing their children to harm in the name of vanity only. There are none of the benefits from physical exercise, reduced calorie intake or other positives in the other examples you gave. I have no problem with the legislature taking a look at this measure.

Bob Forer 4 years, 2 months ago

Hey, BM, if you are going to make absurd, homophobic and bigoted statements, why don't you at least show an ounce of courage and use your real name instead of hiding behind a fake name which I surmise you "borrowed" from a porn star.

James Howlette 4 years, 2 months ago

They should just invite them to attend their mother's 20 year high school reunion. By then it's pretty obvious who tanned and who didn't.

Addie Line 4 years, 2 months ago

People who don't have their kids wearing helmets while on a bike could also be exposing their children to harm for vanity reasons only. I'm asking where are we going to draw the line? Who is going to be the one to determine what is best? Let's choose something without "positive" benefits. Second hand smoke is dangerous for anyone. Should it be illegal to smoke in your home if you have children? Let people make informed decisions. There are many things in society that some may feel are dangerous. Why can't a parent make an informed decision with their child? I'm not saying I would let my children tan. But I believe people should have the right to make their own informed choices. I prefer the government leaves the personal decision making to me and my family.

James Howlette 4 years, 2 months ago

It's already illegal for kids to not wear bike helmets.

Addie Line 4 years, 2 months ago

Only in Lawrence and under the age of 15. Not statewide.

Greg DiVilbiss 4 years, 2 months ago

Leave me alone!!!!

I don't need the nanny state or anyone else telling me what I can do or can't do with my family...If I believe that Fluoride is harmful, Vaccines are poison and the sun or UV light is healthy, children being born at home is safe, that for the most part the body heals itself, that hemp (fabric, biofuel, paper, etc) could save the Kansas economy, that quality food does not include tons of pesticides, that GMO's are bad, if I want to take my kid out of school more than the 10 days or whatever it is and I say it is ok then it is ok.

BUTT OUT!!! MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!! I will chose what is right for myself and my family. I promise I will do the same for you...

Oh my god it is 10:29 p.m. Lights were supposed to be out a half hour ago...not getting enough sleep is bad for your health....I think I will work to pass a bill that cuts the power at 10.

Rant over...

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