Lawmaker proposes Arizona ban on indoor tanning for minors

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PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona lawmaker has proposed a ban on the use of tanning beds by minors as a way to cut down on skin cancers later in life.

House Bill 2493 would bar tanning salons and other facilities in one of the nation's sunniest states from serving anyone under 18.

The bill also would require such businesses to check identification and keep records of who they allow to use their facilities.

Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, is sponsoring the bill.

"There is ample scientific evidence that shows if a person artificially tans when they're young, under the age of 18, they are more likely to have the deadly version of melanoma skin cancer when they're older," Carter said.

Carter's bill came just seven months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued rules requiring manufacturers of sun lamps and tanning beds to sternly warn against their use by anyone under 18.

The FDA also is requiring more warnings about cancer risks in pamphlets, catalogues and websites that promote the tanning products. Those materials must warn that the devices shouldn't be used by people who have had skin cancer or have a family history of the disease.

John Overstreet, executive director of the McClain, Virginia-based Indoor Tanning Association, said there's no reputable evidence that indoor tanning is more dangerous than sitting by a pool and getting a tan. He said parental consent laws such as one already in place in Arizona are sufficient.

"It's the ITA's position that whether or not a teenager gets a suntan should be a decision for his or her parents, not government," Overstreet said. "We feel that the parents should come in, be aware of what's going on and if they say no, then no is the way it is."

Carter, however, said it makes sense for the state to regulate tanning salon use by young people just as it does to bar them from smoking or using alcohol for health reasons.

Nine states and the District of Columbia bar use of tanning beds by minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 41 states and Washington, D.C., have some regulation for minors.

Carter introduced a similar bill in 2013 but held only informational hearings.

The current bill also requires tanning salons to record the length of time each customer uses the device and any injuries or illnesses that result from the use. Salons also would be barred from claiming in advertising or promotional materials that tanning devices are safe, free from risk or could provide a health benefit.

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