Lawmakers weigh ban on teen use of tanning beds

Jul. 31, 2014 @ 04:50 PM

A ban on teens 18 and younger using tanning beds will be decided this week in the N.C. General Assembly.

Last year, Rep. Craig Horn R-38 was a primary sponsor on bill that would raise the minimum age from 13 to 18 for using a tanning bed.

Thursday morning, Raleigh-based WRAL reported the youth tanning ban earlier included in the House budget was missing from the final report. But the change still exists in other legislation, the Appropriations Act of 2014 or Senate Bill 744. That bill was passed by the House and scheduled to go before the Senate Friday.

“It’s a policy, not really a money issue,” Horn said. “It was taken out of the budget, but it lives on.”

The new law would raise the minimum age from 13 years old with parental consent to 18. It already requires tanning bed owners to explain the risk of ultraviolet light exposure.

“Neither an operator nor an owner shall claim or distribute promotional materials that claim that using tanning equipment is safe or free from risk or that using tanning equipment will result in medical or health benefits,” the bill states.

If passed, the law would take effect Oct. 1, 2014.

When the bill was first debated in the NCGA, lobbyist Joseph Levy testified on behalf of the tanning industry, according to WRAL. He argued science does not prove a link between ultraviolet light and skin cancer. Duke University Melanoma Center Director Dr. Kelly Nelson argued clinical trials have proven the link between UV light and melanoma.

The ban was supported by the American Cancer Society, the Child Fatality Task Force, N.C. Pediatrics Society, N.C. Dermatology Association and the N.C. Oncology Society.

In May, the American Suntanning Association reversed its position and sent a letter to the NCGA supporting the ban, according to WRAL.