INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Teens have been banned from using tanning beds other states. Now, lawmakers in Indiana are considering the same thing.
On Wednesday, the governor of Illinois signed a bill into law that prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using a tanning bed. A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association is placing a bright light on the tanning industry. It says indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk by up to 75 percent.
Bloomington Dermatologist Dr. Carrie Davis spoke in front of members of the Health Finance Commission about the risks of tanning on Wednesday.
“I diagnose and treat skin cancer every day. I have patients of all occupations and all ages with skin cancer,” said Davis.
She says melanoma is the second most common cancer in teens and young adults 15-29 years old. Davis wants to see tighter tanning restrictions.
Under current Indiana law, anyone under the age of 18 must have written consent from a parent to tan. Consent must be given in person. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult when tanning.
Davis wants lawmakers to pass legislation that would prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning beds.
“There are dangers from indoor tanning. Tanning does increase the risk of skin cancer and melanoma,” said Davis.
Opponents say education — not legislation — is the key to tanning safety.
“What everybody needs to teach is practical sun care education and sun burn prevention for people of all ages, not just those under 18,” said Joseph Levy, adviser to the American Sun Tanning Association.
Tanning proponents say tighter age restrictions send a wrong message to the public.
“The overstatement is any UV exposure is damage, and that is simply the wrong message,” said Levy.
The committee meeting was an opportunity for both sides to present their case. Members will study the issue and later decide whether to move forward.
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