Legislation aims to blocks minors from tanning beds and regulate industry

“I had to listen to my daughter cry out, I don’t want to die Mom. I’m too young. And I have so much to live for. I want to get married, I want to have children, I want to have a home,” Doreen Buckel describes the heart-wrenching months she spent watching her daughter battle Stage Four Metastatic Melanoma. “I’d like you to put a face to melanoma and that’s why I am here. My daughter Jen, beautiful inside and out. She had the promise of a whole full life ahead of her. I did not know about melanoma, that it could cause death. As her parent I told her it’s not good for her. She would say mom it’s my relaxation time.”

Buckel hopes her story helps others, and helps pass this legislation. “It made me feel really guilty I did not protect her as a parent I didn’t know.”

Representative RoseMarie Swanger unveiled her proposal Monday to help prevent skin cancer cases and deaths by regulating the indoor tanning industry in Pennsylvania.

Swanger introduced House Bill 977 which would prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning beds. It would also regulate the indoor tanning industry which currently has no oversight by the state.

If passed, the legislation would prohibit anyone under 18 from using indoor tanning beds. It would require facilities to post warnings about the risks of UV exposure. Facilities would have to provide free protective eye wear. Employees would also have to be trained on identifying skin types and maximum exposure times.

“I want all the young people in Pennsylvania to know that exposure to ultraviolet radiation can give you a great tan, but it can come at the price of your life,” said Swanger. “As we speak thousands of young people across Pennsylvania are dreaming about going to the prom. They are picking out their gowns and tuxedos deciding on their hairstyles and making  plans for a fun evening with their friends and classmates. Unfortunately, all too often, indoor tanning is also part of the prom equation. This season is prime time for the indoor tanning industry, and unfortunately, the prom customers are the most vulnerable to the deadly effects of exposure to ultraviolet radiation.”

“I want the naysayers to understand that teens who use tanning beds are 75 percent more likely to develop malignant melanoma later in life,” said Swanger. “We protect children by prohibiting their use of tobacco, which is also linked to cancer. Indoor tanning is essentially a cigarette for the skin.”