Updated: 03/05/2014 7:47 AM
Created: 03/05/2014 7:03 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
Lawmakers on Wednesday will talk about a new bill that would limit who can use tanning beds in Minnesota.
The law, which some are calling the "Tan Free Tans" Act, would mean you have to be 18 years old or older to use a tanning bed. The House Health and Human Services Committee will hear the bill Wednesday; it’s the first step before it could become law.
One of the bill’s authors says she chose 18 as the cutoff age because it’s the same age required to buy cigarettes, and both cause cancer.
“The statistics are very, very clear and strong from a variety of sources that this is the fastest-rising melanoma and cancer source, and we need to do something about it,” Rep. JoAnn Ward said. “It’s perfectly preventable.”
The law would also require tanning companies to post additional warnings within three feet of each tanning bed that would say “Danger: Ultraviolet Radiation” and warn about overexposure.
The bill comes on the heels of a Minnesota Department of Health survey that found 34 percent of white female high school juniors had used indoor tanning in the past year. More than half of those students had tanned 10 or more times indoors.
A state dermatologist added that they are seeing many young girls with melanoma on their torso and believe that it’s related to indoor tanning.
Five states already ban anyone under 18 from using tanning beds: California, Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Vermont. Thirty-three states regulate the use of tanning beds by minors in some fashion, including Wisconsin, which doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 16 to use them.