Tanning has long been touted as a dangerous and carcinogenic beauty regimen, especially for young teens. The federal government has placed a tax upon tanning and many jurisdictions are considering outlawing the experience for teens without parental permission. California is leading the way in blocking harmful UV rays from young girls eager to look bronzed for the next big event.
Today, the California Senate quickly approved a bill banning tanning bed use by any individual under age 18 whether they have parental approval or not. California law already forbids tanning by any teenager between the ages of 14 and 17 without parental permission. This new law would forbid the practice all together.
Feelings have been mixed about the legislation. Some believe this is a healthy, proactive way to protect teenagers from the heightened risk of melanoma cancer closely correlated with tanning bed use. Others feel this is just one move governmental intrusion into parents’ rights to control the upbringing of their children and if they approve tanning for their teens, it should be no one’s business.
While tanning may seem like a frivolous issue to take up, notable lawsuits have cropped up across the country alleging the dangers of tanning caused severe injury to plaintiffs. Over-exposure to UV rays whether in an artificial tanning bed or outdoors has been linked to cancer, eye injury and severe burns.
As we head towards summer, many Californians will be insisting upon bronzed skin tones and deep golden tans. Whether California ends up passing the tanning bill remains to be seen, but the serious injuries associated with tanning make it difficult to see a downside to this type of restriction. Since teenagers are not allowed to purchase cigarettes, it stands to reason that similarly-harmful tanning beds should be the next outlawed practice.
Indoor tanning is a large industry in California and an estimated one in three teenage girls use tanning beds in the United States. Despite the significant impact on tanning and salon businesses, the legislature feels this is an urgent and dire situation that must be remedied right away. The sponsor of the bill cited reports that indoor tanners have a 250% greater likelihood of developing skin cancer over the course of their lives, especially if they start tanning as teenagers.