It's Business Versus Health Concerns As Del. Looks at Tanning Ba - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

It's Business Versus Health Concerns As Del. Looks at Tanning Ban

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - It's health concerns versus business concerns as Delaware lawmakers consider banning all minors from using tanning beds.

The state has looked at this issue before. A ban bill was first introduced in 2012. It didn't go anywhere. This time, however, the proposal is getting more traction. It's already passed the state Senate unanimously and is heading to the House.

Meghan Masten works at Electric Beach Tanning in Dover. She's not a fan of the proposed ban.

"I feel like some of it's a bit of over-reacting," she said. "Parents send their kids to the beach all day long. They lay out there. They fry."

Currently, kids ages 14 to 18 can use tanning beds with parental consent in Delaware. Masten says some Electric Beach locations do a lot of business in that age group.

"We have a spot in Middletown. We're located around a high school and middle school."

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Cathy Cloutier, R-Heatherbrooke, says she took into consideration business concerns while drafting the legislation. But in the end, she says it was more important to protect young Delawareans.

The measure is a good idea in the opinion of  Dover dermatologist Dr. Joseph Andrews. First,  he takes into consideration physiological reasons.

"Our body tries to develop mechanisms to protect itself. At the younger ages, you haven't had the opportunity to do so. Therefore, you're going to be more susceptible to the detrimental effects of ultraviolet light," Dr. Andrews said.

There are also behavioral concerns.

"You can be addicted to tanning, just like you can become addicted to other substances," he said. "In a society that is concerned with protecting our youth from alcohol and smoking, it would behoove us to be concerned about the detrimental effects of tanning."

If the bill passes, and a ban does go into effect, Masten says tanning salons, like hers, will see a hit. But she hopes not a big one.

"I do think it will be a cut down number in numbers," she said. "But I do think they can still survive. It's just getting the word out there that we offer other services."

And those are services that this ban would not affect.

In Maryland the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene requires that minors under the age of 18 have written consent by a parent or legal guardian to use a tanning bed. That rule went into effect in 2008.

In 2013 the department began requiring parents to fill out a revised consent form that lists the dangers of tanning.

The Centers for Disease Control say about a quarter of high school girls do indoor tanning. That number is much lower for boys. And a recent CDC study showed, as you might imagine, those percentages were lower in states that have age restrictions.
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