(KCPW News) A bill that would restrict the use of tanning beds by minors continued to make its way through the Utah Senate today, though its sponsor, Democratic Senator Pat Jones, submitted a new version that makes significant changes. The new bill would still allow those under 14 years old to use a tanning bed, but anyone under 18 would need to be accompanied by a parent, who must sign a consent form at each visit.
“Awareness of the dangers should be reinforced by having parents accompany their children if they insist on exposing their child to UV radiation,” said Jones. “If we do it for tattoos, and we do it for body piercings, why shouldn’t we be doing this for indoor tanning which is much more dangerous?”
Jones cited evidence from studies that show that for people 18 to 29 years old who have been diagnosed with melanoma, 76 percent of the cases are directly attributed to the use of a tanning bed. She added the majority of medical organizations would still like to see a complete ban on the use of tanning beds by minors.
Republican Senator Howard Stephenson, himself a skin cancer survivor, voted against the bill.
“The question is whether we are going to become, or continue to be, a nanny state where we try to control people’s behavior rather than allowing them to pay the costs of their own decisions,” said Stephenson.
Third Substitute Senate Bill 41 passed by an initial vote of 18 to 8. Stephenson says he is planning to submit another substitute bill when the Senate takes a final vote.