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Banning Tanning Beds: Better Late Than Never

I just recently read the news that our very own governor here in California had signed a bill that bans kids under 18 from using tanning beds. It’s a follow up to a previous bill that banned kids between the ages 14-18 from using tanning beds without parent consent and those younger from using the beds all together. This is the first bill of its kind in the U.S.


Did I miss something? Fourteen year olds have been allowed to use tanning beds? You mean, it was allowed? Even with parental permission I can’t believe this was OK. And wait a second, this “previous bill” I mentioned, you mean we had to make a law banning kids under 14?

I’ve always been under the impression that tanning beds were not all that safe anyway, and had no idea kids were allowed to even use them until now.

I do applaud governor Brown for signing the bill, and California for putting it together in the first place. I’m just flabbergasted that it’s 2011 and we just now figured out that kids probably shouldn’t be hanging out in tanning beds.

In 2009, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) moved tanning beds into its highest cancer risk category after they concluded that tanning beds are “carcinogenic to humans.”  A review of research found that the risk of melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer – was increased by 75% in people who started using tanning beds regularly before the age of 30.

In April 2011 England and Wales introduced a ban on the use of tanning beds for kids under 18 following a similar ban in Scotland. Brazil has banned the use of tanning beds completely.

“If everyone knew the true dangers of tanning beds, they’d be shocked,” said State senator Ted Lieu who sponsored the California bill. “Skin cancer is a rising epidemic and the leading cause of cancer death for women between 25 and 29.”

Tanning salons claim the bill will hurt business because 5% to 10% of their business is made up of customers under 18. Not that I really care. Businesses in the business of giving out cancer rarely get a lot of sympathy from me.

At any rate, good for you California, better late than never. Hopefully the other 49 states aren’t far behind.

What do you think? Is banning tanning beds for minors such a no-brainer that you’re as shocked as I am that it wasn’t already in place? And should we start considering banning them all together like Brazil?

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27 Responses to “Banning Tanning Beds: Better Late Than Never”

  1. April

    Kids between 14-18 using tanning beds is no surprise to me. I was one of those kids, and that was 10 years ago. Most everyone used them to get tan for Prom, of course in mid-Missouri it is difficult to get tan in the spring. I wonder how many of these teens have a tanning bed in their home? How many will continue tanning anyway? Is tanning that much worse than being under direct sunlight? I honestly haven’t look up the statistics, but I always figured they were best used in moderation. With this new law, I can see a lot of these kids just spending hours laying out in direct sunlight now. I think that society needs to change its ideals of what is ‘beautiful’ for this to really make an impact. Being thin and tan should not be every teens main goal.

    • Life360

      great point about needing to change what we deem as beautiful. I wish I knew how to make that happen. I think we focus on beauty too much in general. For example, even as small children the first compliment we give to a little girl is that she looks pretty, her hair is long and beautiful, her dress is pretty, she has a pretty smile etc…. Instead we should be focusing on their mind: "What book are you reading?," "What do you want to be when you grow up."

      Changing our focus will help them learn a different focus based on their abilities not their physical presence

  2. Susan Smith

    I agree that teens that age shouldn't be using tanning beds but shouldn't the parents be the one telling them no not the government. I wouldn't let my teenager use a tanning bed at that age.

  3. kelly t

    Banning tanning beds for minors is a no brainer. I think they should be banned for all ages.

  4. Donna

    I used to love tanning beds…now I wish I hadn't. I don't think they are any good at any age!

  5. Adele

    I go to the dermatologist every two weeks to treat sun damage on my skin. If I knew this earlier, I would not have spent so much time in the sun. And a tanning bed is so much worse. It is definitely not worth it. I am extremely diligent about sunscreen now. These are lessons we need to teach our children from an early age.

  6. Holly S.

    I had no idea that kids were allowed to use them!!! Why don't we just let them smoke or drink with parental approval? There is a reason that damaging, but still legal items or practices are banned from children; because for the most part they do not yet have the forethought to say "this is bad for me and maybe I will regret it." This should be the law in all 50 states.

  7. Linda Turner

    I have never been to a tanning bed, and to my knowledge neither has my mother. Mom has had to have numerous skin cancers taken off her nose and face just from being out in the sun. I certainly do not believe our children have any need for a tanning bed, and I would just as soon see them illegal. Mom's doctor told her that the cancers she is seeing today are from sun exposure at least 7 years ago. Wake up, America! We don't need to invite more cancer into our lives or our children's lives.

  8. Judith

    i have never been to a tanning bed either. with all the information out there on the dangers I wonder where peoples brains are. Are we too vain to take heed.

  9. Jeff

    I have read some bad stuff on tanning beds. Kids under 18 shouldn't be using them. Here in the states we put beauty before health in a lot of different areas. Some people smoke to maintain weight.

  10. anny31

    whats wrong with just going outside to play? tans are achieved free that way! i would say have it for 18 yrs and up..
    ive been to the tanning bed..i live in the city..if i need a tan ima gonna go. i dont want to lay on the sidewalk

  11. Jean

    I think it should be a no-go for kids…but I think the gov't needs to stay out of the affairs of adults. If we choose to be stupid, well…that's our choice. You can't *make* people be great. You can punish ppl for doing evil. But when you start letting the gov't determine what's evil, you side down a slippery slope of freedom-loss. Not good.

  12. @zoeybear20

    I guess I was oblivious about them allowing children to go to a tanning salon, too. I don't think they should be going there, and I don't think that adults should be going either. They should ban it from the children going, but I don't see the point in doing it for adults. If they want to tan bad enough they'll either sit outside in the sun to get it or purchase their own tanning bed for the home. A little bit of sun is good for you as long as you're wearing sunscreen, but there's no reason to think you need to do it to make yourself look better. It's not safe and I'm sure you will regret it once you are older.

  13. Lauren

    That is crazy! Children should not be going to tanning beds and a law against it is a good idea.

  14. Anita

    This is ridonkulous. Kids should be focused on academics not vanity. Tanning beds cause cancer parents should not condone this behavior

    Imnotarunner at gmail dot com

  15. Ashley

    Kids do not need to go to tan in a tanning bed. There is too much risk with getting skin cancer and they need to focus on more important things like school!

  16. Shawn Crahan

    5 to 10% of business comes from kids 14-18?!? I'm normally not in favor of intrusive government regulations, but tanning has proven dangers, I'm glad some one stepped up and did something.

  17. ann*

    I agree they should be banned for kids and also adults. It just gives you more of chance to get skin cancer and mostly tho most girls dont know this that it ages your skin much quicker. You will be 30 and probaly look 50 so many wrinkles and dry skin isnt really worth looking good for awhile when your younger.

  18. Mary Dailey

    Tanning beds are just as dangerous as tanning with the sun. I hate when I see young teenagers with a dark tan, even in winter. It's up to parents to teach their teens that later in life is when skin cancer shows up due to abuse to their skin when they were younger. I've known people with skin cancer in their 30s and younger.

  19. Deborah Wallin

    I applaud the bill to ban children under the age of 18 from using tanning beds. I think teenagers look ridiculous in the middle of the winter when they are dark and tanned, and it is so obviously not natural. I worry what their skin will look like in their 30's, let alone their health.

  20. Candice Owrey

    I used to tan all through my teen years. I'd even go from one tanning salon to another because of the once a day rule. I think teens should have to take a course on the risk of skin cancer before they are allowed to tan.

  21. Rosa C.

    I totally agree with this ban, we don't need that many oven-crisp kids running around. Kids generally don't understand the concept of "damage that will show 10-20 years later" or "risk of cancer", myself as a kid included. For those who want the sun-kissed look occasionally, try tanning lotion instead. It's much better for your health, and as long as it's good quality lotion used a few days in advance, the result can be just as good as the real deal.

  22. @BritneyBoroughs

    I was allowed to tan before cheer season each year starting in the 8th grade. All my friends were doing it, and although my mom didn't want me to, she finnaly caved. Now, I wish that she hadn't. I will not be allowing my daughter to tan.

  23. Virgina Rabadan

    I am just commenting to let you understand of the extraordinary discovery my cousin’s princess enjoyed reading the blog. She noticed such a lot of details, which include how it is like to possess a great teaching mindset to let many others with ease comprehend specified impossible subject areas. You really exceeded our own desires. Thank you for presenting those informative, safe, explanatory as well as easy tips on the topic to Emily.

  24. Christina

    I know it shouldn't be the case, but I remember being in 6th grade and lots of girls going to the tanning beds. Even then I knew something was wrong.

  25. Christina D

    And I thought they wouldn't have a problem getting tan in California…why would they PAY for artificial sun?? beaches and sunscreen, they don't know how lucky they are!


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