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.”

11 comments

  • Brian Erskine

    Representative Swanger calls tanning a cigarette for the skin. It's a little shocking that a public official even say smoking and tanning in the same sentence. According to the CDC tobacco related deaths accounted for +4800% (not a typo) more deaths than melanoma, 443000 vs 9199 for melanoma and the melanoma number has barely changed in 30 years. Stop the comparisons to smoking!

    As for the idea that someones risk increases 75%. Here are the facts:

    1) 96% increase risk – PHOTOTHERAPY UNITS used for medical procedures like acne treatments and psoriasis.
    2) 41% increase risk – HOME UNITS

    3) 6% increase risk – Commercial indoor tanning salons

    Scroll to page S251.The article concludes “When professional sunbed usage is considered independent of home and medical exposures there is no association with melanoma”. Here is the link –
    http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/173/suppl_1

    • MyTakeOnIt

      Ah, yes. I am sure this Swanger and all of the research that has gone into this is just an attempt at making teens lives miserable and white. These wretched people in this country who follow studies and analyze data need something to do to create controversy and take our freedoms. If I want to drive drunk without a seat belt talking on my cell and smoking a cigarette with my child on my lap, shooting my gun at every sonofabitch who cuts into my lane before I have a fiery crash into a school bus full of kids, at least we died with a tan.

  • suntaneducation

    If Rep. Swanger was that concerned about a teens and melanoma, why didn't she make the public aware that having fair hair, fair skin, moles and a family history of skin cancer are all significant factors? Prohibiting teens from indoor tanning may have the unintended consequence of driving them to the pools, parks, ballfields and beaches to tan where the risk of overexposure and sunburn are increased in natural sunlight. Indoor tanning offers a controlled environment to obtain a tan where sessions are delivered by skin type and a timer and the risk of overexposure are minimized.

    • MyTakeOnIt

      Because the context of Swanger's proposal was about commercial tanning. It's more comparative to food safety regulations than driving kids to outdoor events like you propose. If the data supports the link in high probability then action will protect children. That's how we learned that car seats are necessary. That's how we learned how to prevent SIDS. Data and studies are how we learned to prevent Whooping Cough. It's how we learned of the general risks of sunlight exposure and the relationship to sunburns, UV, moles, fair hair, etc. So, you are using the factors of skin cancer and dismissing the case of teens using tanning beds because it suits you?

  • Shelly 75ng/ml

    "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."
    Has anyone actually looked into the fact that nearly all professional salons already DO THIS? The tanning beds that are dangerous are the ones that are HOME UNITS because they DON'T DO THIS. So tell me how regulating and limiting access to an industry that already limits how long and how often a person tans based on skin type will make any difference? Oh but it WILL make a difference, it will actually make things WORSE because by banning people from professional salons they will likely seek out home units or spend excessive time outdoors risking burn. It is absurd to make a law banning the ONE method that takes safety precautions. My son goes to a tanning salon to treat his severe acne and we pay a fraction of what a dermatologist charges. It works for him and as his parent I should be able to decide if that is the treatment we use. NOT THE GOVERNMENT. If a parent doesn't want their kid to tan, don't give permission. (Another thing a majority of salons do even when it isn't required by law is that there is parental consent for anyone under 18)

  • MyTakeOnIt

    Well now, you pose really good arguments and examples. I like this. You should submit your take on it to Rep. Swanger.

    • MyTakeOnIt

      But one more thing, Shelly, If a parent doesn't want their kid to sit in the car seat, should the government step in then? It sounds like the intentions of legislation is for the good of children but does not take into consideration some of the arguments you proposed (which sound logical and beneficial).

  • suntaneducation

    You're missing my point. A false assumption is that prohibiting teens from sunbeds will stop them from seeking a tan. Those that want to tan will simply try to obtain it outdoors, where overexposure and sunburn are likely. How many young girls and boys are being overexposed to UV on soccer and baseball fields? Where's the outrage? Are you going to hold the parks and local governments to task? Those against sunbeds throw the rhetoric around, trying to draw a link to cigarettes and UV–yet UV is processed naturally by our bodies, unlike tobacco. How we prevented whooping cough and SIDS? Avoiding UV doesn't prevent skin cancer. Ask one of those doctors presenting testimony if they can absolutely state that sunbeds, not environmental factors or the other risk factors are the sole cause of skin cancer. If not, the public needs to be aware of all risk factors, not just one that is being singled out as a political sword.

  • Concerned

    Rather just replace tanning in tanning beds with "spray on" tans. These are proven safe. The survival rates for Melanoma patients are very low. A commom sense decision could save your life !!

  • Doreen Buckel

    You are missing the point! Government is not trying to take parents rights away. They are trying to protect our young people from death. Not everyone is still aware that tanning in tanning beds are more intensified and lethal and every year young woman and men ages 20- 29 are being diagnosed with melanoma in my family’s case, our daughter Jen died. I did not know that this cancer melanoma can spread to different parts of your body. In talking to others trying to spread awareness there are so many people who still don’t know that melanoma does kill. I pray to god that you never as a parent have to face the loss of a child especially because you allowed them to do something that you didn’t know could take their life. Please think about this people, we don’t allow children to smoke or drink. Why would tanning be any different?

  • Lucas

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