Newly Proposed Bill Could Restrict Minors from Using Tanning Beds

A newly proposed bill in Olympia could ban people under the age of 18 from using tanning beds in Washington state.

If it passes, violators could be fined $250.

Kelly Fennell, owner of Soleil Ami tanning salon in Richland said her business has suffered a bit since the 10% tax increase on tanning was implemented in 2010 and she said if a new bill stopping people under the age of 18 from tanning passes, she could take another small hit.

"I don't know that it would break us but over time it could, being a small business," said Fennell.

Megan Anderson started tanning just a few months ago when she turned 18 because he family wouldn't let her do so before her birthday.

Knowing what it feels like to be restricted, Anderson doesn't agree with Senate Bill 6065 proposed by Sen. Curtis King of Yakima.

She said as long as it's not excessive, she doesn't see anything wrong with tanning.

"As long as I'm not doing it my entire life," said Anderson. "Use SPF to protect yourself. People are going to do it either way where it's outside or in a tanning bed."

Sen. King said he put forth the bill, that was heard before the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor, because he doesn't want to listen to another young woman tell him about fighting cancer for the rest of her life as a result of tanning during her teenage years.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one American dies from melanoma every hour.

One local dermatologist tells us, it is exposure to UltraViolet radiation that is so dangerous.

He said this bill could save many lives.

"Tanning increases the risk of malignant melanoma by 75%," said Dr. Sidney Smith. "Individuals who tan are at a risk of getting the deadly kind."

Instead he has a different recommendation.

"Someone who wants what they consider a 'healthy glow,' that's where fake tans are phenomenal," said Dr. Smith. "They're safe and they can still have that glow that they desire."

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 30 states in the U.S. restrict access to indoor tanning equipment either by banning use by minors or requiring parental consent.

We will continue to follow this bill through the legislative session and keep you posted on the outcome.