Teen Tanning Bill Becomes Law

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

Once spring rolls around, many Americans start building up a golden tan. And instead of the sun, millions of people use tanning beds.

"We are extremely busy," said Rodney Rhodes, owner of Exotic Tan in Northridge Plaza. "We have been blessed to be busy this time of year."

But now teenagers will have to ask mom and dad's permission before hopping under the bulbs.

Gov. Haley Barbour has signed a bill that would require anyone 17 or younger to get written permission from a parent or guardian before using an indoor tanning facility.

Rhodes said he already does this at Exotic Tan because he believes its the right thing to do.

"I'm a parent and I would want to know that my child was doing something like that, and just being a good parent," Rhodes said.

The parental permission would be valid for a year and can be revoked at any time.

The law will be even stricter for those 13 years or younger. Their guardian will need to remain at the facility while the teenager uses the services.

Teenagers make up a good portion of the tanning bed business and that's why many states have passed laws similar to this one.

According to government figures, melanoma rates among young women in the U.S. have increased 50 percent since the 1980s, a trend that parallels increased use of tanning beds and time in the sun. However, Rhodes says the effects of UVA rays are far from secret.

The new law isn't expected to affect business, considering many female teenagers already visit the tanning beds with their mothers. The law will take effect July 1.

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