Utah legislature to consider banning teens from tanning beds

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The Utah State Legislature is being asked to consider banning teens from tanning beds.

“There is no compelling reason any more for a teen to be able to tan and there’s no reason to allow it,” Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, said in a recent interview with FOX 13.

Currently, Utah law requires parental permission for minors who go to a tanning salon. Rep. Daw said for a long time, he believed parental choice was appropriate. But he has since changed his mind as he learned more about the risks of skin cancer later in life.

“We as a state have a compelling health interest to prevent that kind of cancer outbreak later in life,” Rep. Daw said.

A ban is likely to draw some pushback from those who advocate for parental choice. An industry group representing tanning salons also said it would challenge any bill.

“Even though the lawmaker may be well-meaning, there’s unintended consequences to that approach,” said Joseph Levy with the American Suntanning Association.

Levy said a ban would likely push teens outdoors, where they are at greater risk for skin cancer and a sunburn — not the controlled environment of a tanning salon.

“It doesn’t decrease sun bed usage. It just drives people who want to use sun beds in a non-salon sun bed,” Levy said. “Why that’s important is that a salon has the ability to control your exposure time.”

The Utah State Legislature is expected to consider the proposal at its interim meetings later this month. Levy said he intended to reach out to Rep. Daw to talk to him about the legislation.

Any bill will not be considered until the 2020 legislative session in January, but Rep. Daw said he believes it’s past time to move forward with an all-out ban.

“Really, there is no good compelling reason to allow a teen to tan,” he said. “You’re basically putting them at severe risk.”

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