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Published:April 14th, 2007 06:48 EST
MA State Officials Try to Ban Teen Tans

MA State Officials Try to Ban Teen Tans

By Laura Paine

Health officials are working to create a bill that will disallow teens under the age of 16 to use tanning booths, saying that it will drastically decrease new cases of skin cancer. The bill would also require teens age 16 and 17 to have written parental consent before being allowed to bake under the tanning bulbs.

Let`s not make it so easy for young people to expose their skin to dangerous rays, " Sen. Pamela Resor told the Associated Press on Monday, April 2nd.

In a world where being tan is both accepted and demanded, people are seemingly ignoring the information provided about the dangers of artificial tanning. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, people who use tanning beds and booths before the age of 35 increase their risk of being diagnosed with melanoma by 75 percent. In the United States, more than 1 million people use tanning beds daily. The average user is a Caucasian female between the ages of 16 and 49.

With all of this information at the fingertips of millions of people all over the world, why do people still use tanning salons? Should the government take the place of parents when telling teens what they can and cannot do, even if it is for health purposes?

I tan because it makes me feel young and fresh, which is important because I work in the beauty industry, " said Jessica Lussier, 29, of Holbrook. I do think that teens under the age of 18 should have parental consent before using a tanning bed, but a law banning use for teens under the age of 16 is unnecessary. "

Sarah Diehl, 27, of Danvers said, I think it should be up to the parents. If a parent thinks that it`s okay for their kid to go tanning even though they are under sixteen that is their choice, even if it is really horrible for your skin. "

According to Sen. James Timilty and the Associated Press, Massachusetts has a skin cancer rate higher than the national average and the long winters and relatively short summer season can cause people to crave the sun`s rays. " However, many tanning salons across the state require teens under the age of 16, some under the age of 18, to have written parental consent before they can tan.

Hollywood Tans has over 300 salons across the country. It is common place that if a customer has a light complexion that they do not tan for the full time. The popular franchise also exercises a parental consent policy.

If a person is under 18 they need to have a parent come in and sign for them. If a person is under the age of 16 a parent must sign as well as remain present while the person tans, " said Deanna of Hollywood Tans in Brighton.

States such as California, New Jersey and Mississippi have already set laws in place to minimize or prohibit teenage use of tanning salons, and three other states are working on passing a similar bill.

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The Boston Herald-April 2, 2007

The Skin Cancer Foundation-2007