Ban on teen tanning heads to governor

New restrictions on teen tanning are one step from becoming law after legislation passed the Indiana Senate and moved to the governor on Thursday.

Senate Bill 50, authored by Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, bans youth under the age of 16 from tanning at commercial tanning facilities. The bill also requires anyone between the ages of 16 and 18 to provide parental permission before being allowed to tan at professional facilities.

“I think it’s very important because so many physicians, dermatologists and others are concerned about the amount of skin cancer being caused by exposure to tanning beds,” said Miller. “And this is particularly true in our younger population.”

Miller said that those who tan and are under age 30 are more likely to end up with melanoma, a malignant form of skin cancer.

“The intent is to try to reduce the number of young people who are now going to be exposed to cancer,” she said.

The bill passed the Senate earlier this year in a similar form but it also included a study committee on the issue. The House stripped out the study and on Thursday, the Senate voted to accept that change.

Miller attributed her support for the bill to testimonies heard over the summer given by those who have been personally affected by tanning-related cancer.

“We had this summer some young people come and testify – particularly a young woman who came who had had melanoma, and she told of her experience and sort of the devastating affect it had on her to get this diagnosis and the kind of procedure she had to go through,” Miller said. “And she was encouraging other young people, ‘Please don’t tan.’”

The bill passed 26-12.

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