Teen tanning could be banned

Teen tanning could be banned »Play Video
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The state Senate has approved a measure that would ban those under age 18 from using tanning beds. Lawmakers are following in the footsteps of Oregon and it could mean lights out for minors.

“It's ridiculous.” That’s what Cherie Broadway thinks of this new tanning bill as a tanning salon owner. As a mother, Bill 6065 has crossed a boundary.

“I am tired of the government coming in and doing my parenting for me,” she said. “I have children under 18, and I allow them to tan." Broadway sees all ages come through her salon and she already has rules for minors. “When kids come in here under 18, they need parental consent. I don't let anyone under the age of 18 tan without parental consent."

Broadway says tanning is like everything else: safe as long as it's in moderation. “I am the one who sets the time limits,” she says. She has a questionnaire they fill out. It’s tailoring the time to the type, a precaution that doesn't satisfy Yakima Senator Curtis King, the sponsor of Bill 6065.

"We protect young people from tobacco; we protect young people from alcohol; to me this falls in the same category," said Sen. King. Those protections include carding at salons and fines up to $250 for non-compliance.

“I’ve been tanning since I was 16, and without tanning my life would be miserable," said Selena Hackney. Selena isn't a melodramatic teen. She's now an adult but suffers from psoriasis. She treats the painful skin problem with tanning, because many medications hurt.

“I usually go three to four times a week, and it's reduced the swelling and redness. It used to be my whole back and now it's just spots.” She says she would’ve found a way to tan if it had been taken away, why Broadway and other industry professionals say 6065 creates an unsafe environment.

It's the age-old argument -- kids will find a way. That way is through unregulated tanning beds in apartment buildings, gyms and homes.

“They're going to start out at 20 minutes, just because they can," said Broadway.

The measure passed the Senate on a 40-8 vote Wednesday and now heads to the House. The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Curtis King of Yakima, says his hope is to reduce the chances of teens later developing skin cancer.