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California legislators are debating a bill proposed by Senator Ted Lieu which hopes to ban teenagers from lying in a tanning bed before they're 18.
Currently, the law says teens must be 14 to fake bake, while those under 18 must have a signed permission slip from their parents. However, Sen. Lieu does not think that is enough because proprietors often turn their heads the other way to accommodate teens with forged permission slips.
Wayne LaVassar, who owns 14 tanning salons in the Los Angeles area, believes a more appropriate middle ground between the government and tanning businesses in the state would be to require in-person parental authorizations.
Unfortunately, worried parents and government officials do have something to worry about that teens or young adults often choose to ignore — exposure to UV rays CAN cause cancer.
A World Health Organization has classified tanning beds as "carcinogenic" and the FDA maintains:
"There is no such thing as a safe tan. The increase in skin pigment, called melanin, which causes the tan color change in your skin is a sign of damage."
California will vote on the issue on Tuesday, but isn't the only state considering such drastic steps to protect teens from exposure to harmful rays. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York are also considering banning tanning for teens under 18, while a similar effort failed this year in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota and New Mexico.
Just like cigarettes, any excess exposure to the sun has been proven to provide potentially serious health risks, so maybe enforcing a legal age to use tanning beds is the next logical step in an effort to prevent teens from unknowingly endangering their health. However, unlike smoking, teens are able to get the same exposure from a big ball of fire burning in the sky on any given day in California.
While we certainly don't want teens or ANYONE for that matter getting cancer that can be avoided, many will see the ban as another freedom being stripped by the government. We think, at the very least, it is up to parents to educate their children about the danger of excessively tanning.
Do U think tanning should be banned for anyone under 18 or is it up to the parents to individually allow their children to expose themselves to harmful UV rays?
[Image via AP Images.]