Lawmakers push ban on teen tanning

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OLYMPIA — Tanning beds are just as dangerous as smoking and drinking alcohol is to teens, some state legislators in Olympia said Monday.

Now, lawmakers are pushing to ban minors from what they say is a dangerous practice.

State senator Curtis King, R-Yakima, said like smoking, young teens don’t usually recognize the long-term effects of their actions. He backs a Senate Bill banning indoor tanning for those under 18 years old.

“We have children that will go into these tanning booths time after time after time and say it doesn’t affect me,” King said. “But when they get to be 28,30 years old, it does affect them.”

A recent Center for Disease control study shows more than 25 percent of all teenage girls use indoor tanning booths. The FDA said their risk of developing melanoma, a dangerous skin cancer, is 75 percent higher than those who don’t.

Still, only 10 of other states have banned teen tanning. Washington is pushing new ground. King and Senator Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, are just two of several lawmakers pushing the bill.

“Why would we put young woman without the information at risk of forming a deadly melanoma as law exists now in our state?” she asked.

In a hearing in Olympia, young women who spent their teen years tanning spoke in support of the proposed law.

“I’m 22 years old and I was diagnosed with melanoma this past March and that is why this bill is very important to my heart,” Jessica Hewlett said. “I started tanning my freshman year in high school.”

The bill would also impose a fine on salons caught violating the law.

But many tanning salon owners said the bill oversteps reasonable bounds. Debra Haynie, the owner of Copperzone Tanning Salon, said her customers already practice “safe tanning.”

“I think tanning responsibility is a lot better than those at home beds they could go out and get with no regulation,” Haynie said. “Or someone going out and spending two hours in the sun trying to get that perfect glow.”

The senate has until Feb. 22 to push the bill through.

By Kate Burgess 

Q13 FOX News

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  • Meghan

    If tanning for teens is illegal so should abortion! It has been repeated linked to breast cancer. It is hardly a “safe” procedure as well, just look what happened to Jennifer Morbelli. And let’s not forget about loss of fertility, ruptured uterus, and severe infection. Abortion is the REAL war against women!

    • Carol

      Please let me know how abortions are linked to breast cancer. It is a safe procedure if it is done in a medical facility & performed by a medical professional. Yes, there are risks to having an abortion. There are many risks to having any kind of medical procedure. No, I do not believe that abortion should be used as birth control. If a woman or a minor is raped, if there are severe medical reasons that would put the fetus at a high risk of dying and the same for the woman who is carrying the baby. I do not think you should judge others on what they chose to do. They are made aware of the risks of the abortion and then they can make their own informed decision. Are tanning salons handing out any kind of literature stating that there is a risk of melanoma? Being educated on these topics really help when you are leaving a comment. I do not know who Jennifer Morbelli is I am saddened & sorry if her procedure did not go well.

  • Kathy

    My sister past away from Melnaoma Cancer, she was a Model when she was in her 20's, she used the tanning beds on a regular basis. She past away at the age of 42. I think we need to STOP using tanning beds and let the natural sun do the job as it has for years in the past. You do not here of the farmers passing away from or having Melnaoma. What ever happend to the good ol days.

  • Rebecca

    The reason you don't hear about farmers passing away from melanoma is because it's not a good story — too common. You hear about young people getting melanoma because it is sensational and rare. Certainly every case of melanoma is very sad, but legislation should not be based upon anecdotal evidence and emotion — it should be based upon scientific fact. And while, yes, some young people do get melanoma, it is not on the rise according to National Cancer Institute data ( As you can see, melanoma in older men is increasing dramatically. Hard to blame that on tanning beds, right? As far as the 75% increase in melanoma statistic cited in this article, it's important to note how that number was derived. That study actually found no statistically significant increase in data sets from tanning salons. The increase came from home use, a 40% increase, and use of UV equipment for medical phototherapy, a 96% increase. Now please explain to me how this supports the notion that tanning salons should be banned…?

    • Danielle Dahm

      My stage 3 is a result of tanning beds! Get educated! I was down to 86 lbs after 2 surgeries and 8 months of treatment. I've been through hell and back! This ban is important. I was given a 60%chance of surviving 5 years! 13 years later, I'm blessed to share my journey…

    • Carol

      It is NOT sensational and rare!! Come on up to the fourth floor at The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. You will see many young women waiting to see their oncologist, because they have been diagnosed with melanoma. It has been proven that the use of tanning beds DOES increase your risk of getting melanoma!! I do not know where you are getting your information from but, your source is not accurate!! Yes, tanning beds should be regulated just like cigarettes are for minors. Most minors are aware that they may get lung cancer if they smoke. I do not think you will find many minors who are aware that getting a tan in a tanning bed puts them at risk for melanoma!! Ask a teen see what they say!! Melanoma is not just SKIN CANCER. It has NO CURE!!!!

  • Jimmy

    The media seems to "copy and paste" their statistics. The 75% number is so misleading. It has already been proven that study was extremly flawed and the numbers were based on home tanning units, skin type 1 clients and dermatologist offices where they burn you on purpose. Take out those people and the risk becomes less than 1%. But that doesn't make good scaresational news. Please education your self. Look up and understand moderation and non-burning is the key.

    • Danielle Dahm

      Get educated! The studies are real… I have had two fellow warriors die of melanoma this week… Caused by tanning bed use. My stage 3 malignant melanoma was caused by these death beds! I'm real! I was down to 86 lbs after high dose interferon therapy. I had every side effect and then some! Two major surgeries.. Tanning beds aren't worth that healthy glow! Given a 60% chance of surviving 5 years, I'm lucky to be here 13 years later. I'm about to celebrate 8 years of remission. If I can save just one life, my journey will have been worth it. I will worry for the rest of my life if the cancer will return… Every ache, every pain, every scan causes extreme anxiety. My life is forever changed…all due to wanting a "healthy" glow!

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