by Amanda Libby
In a world where tanning is just as important as going to the gym and doing laundry, a new bill in Maryland could halt throngs of teens in their quest for that Snooki-esque glow.
Maryland Senator and cancer survivor, Jamie Raskin, presented a bill Feb. 9 to the Senate Finance Committee that, if passed, would effectively ban the use of indoor tanning beds to minors.
In 2005, 2.3 million adolescents used indoor tanning devices, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Local tanning salon Beach Fever owner, Melanie Gladden, claims they will most likely not be affected by the ban because only 1% of their users are under age 18. Those customers are required under current law to have their parents’ permission before employing indoor tanning services.
Gladden believes it is the parent’s responsibility to decide what is best for their children.
“As a parent, I’m going to go into a facility where my daughter is going to tan and check it out and see if there are professional people there,” Gladden said.
California is currently the only state that bans indoor UV tanning beds for teens under age 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Other states including Delaware, Illinois, and Maine ban tanning for those under the age of 14.
“I can understand the reasoning behind the ban,” said senior Kara DeBoy. “Who wants to be orange? Indoor UV tanning can be dangerous, but its people’s right to do what they want to do with their skin.”
Studies show that indoor tanning poses significant health threats for youth in America. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology says that numerous studies have documented an association between the use of indoor tanning devices and an increased risk of skin cancer, especially in young women.
Despite the dangers of tanning, some still believe that the bill infringes on an individual’s freedom of choice.
“I am totally against the government taking the right away from a girl’s parent to allow her to tan,” Gladden said.
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