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Proposal could ban minors from tanning

BY CHRIS HIGGINS | FEBRUARY 11, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa teenagers will always bring elaborate hairdos and pricy outfits to prom with them, but one thing may soon be missing, if a certain proposal makes it past the legislature this year: a bronze complexion.

A bill pending in the Iowa House would ban anyone under the age of 18 from using a tanning bed. House File 2030 would also require salons to provide a written health warning to adults who use their facilities. The bill is currently in committee.

The World Health Organization says additional exposure to UV rays, such as from a tanning bed, increases the risk for melanoma, a type of skin cancer, especially among young people. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the number of cases of melanoma in Iowa rose from 600 in 2005 to 848 in 2010.

“My sixteen-year-old daughter hates the bill,” said Rep. Dave Jacoby (D-Coralville). “All of the information I’ve seen in terms of skin disease says to me that it is right to limit [the use of tanning beds] definitely to those under 16 and possibly to those under 18… I think it’s at least time to have the debate on the floor.”

Iowa is one of fifteen states with no age restriction on the use of tanning beds. Similar bills have failed in the past, but Jacoby said an amendment is being drafted that would loosen the age restriction to an under-16 ban in an attempt to ease its passing.

Jacoby described Iowa as “about as purple of a state as you can get” with its mix of conservative and liberal politics. He said that the difficulty of passing such bills springs from the state’s conflict between “its libertarian stance and public safety.” Rep. Chip Baltimore (R-Boone) leans towards the former when it comes to the role of parents.

“It’s one of those things where parents can make that call,” Baltimore said. “That’s a parental issue, not a legislative one.”

Aubry Sander, employee at Sunkissed Tanning, believes the age ban would negatively impact the salon.

“Business would definitely slow down, because there are so many people between the ages of sixteen and eighteen who tan,” she said. “We have high school students who want to tan for prom or spring break or the summer. I’m sure they’d be upset about it.”

Sander said requiring more warning on top of what salons already provide to customers would be a step in the right direction.

“I think we should do that to begin with,” she said.

UI sophomore AnnaRose Einarsen, who has been tanning since she was 17, and agrees that there are risks in tanning. However, she said tanning has positive effects as well.

“You know what you’re getting yourself into,” Einarsen said about warnings at tanning salons. “If anything, they overdramatize it and give you the worst-case scenario…It keeps my skin clear and it keeps the eczema away. I feel better about myself, and I don’t look 12.”

UI freshman Patsy Forg, who does not tan, expressed approval for the legislative proposal.

“I think that would be best,” Forg said. “We do the same thing for tattoos.”


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