House Bill 268, regulating the age at which a minor can use a tanning bed, Wednesday received a favorable recommendation from the House Health and Welfare Committee and will now be considered by the full House.
The legislation would ban children under age 16 from using tanning beds at commercial salons. It would also mandate parental consent for 16- and 17-year olds to use the beds.
“If you use tanning booths, you have a higher risk of cancer,” testified Dr. Steve Mings of Gem State Dermatology in Boise.
Mings spoke in favor of the bill that would impose fines on tanning booth operators who allow underage minors to use their services, and would also allow local governments to implement further controls on the tanning industry. The bill creates new civil penalties amounting to up to $500 for tanning booth operators who allow minors to use the devices.
During his presentation, Mings offered a detailed explanation of how cancer cells multiply, and how tanning processes can be a cause of cancer. He also noted that World Health Organization has classified the use of tanning beds as a “group one carcinogen.”
“I am against the legislation here in Idaho,” said Scott Pirdy, of Palm Beach Tanning in Boise. “People have become a lot more educated about tanning, and we are very responsible. We use what the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) calls the Fitzpatrick Scale to determine a person’s skin type before the tan. We also inform our clients of possible side effects of UV light.”
“You mentioned FDA guidelines,” Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, said to Pirdy. “Could you expand on that please?”
“The FDA has posted information on every single piece of equipment,” Pirdy replied. “The specific allowance of time for the light is posted on the tanning device.”
“We have to ask ourselves ‘what role does the state play in parental responsibility and in individual choices?’” Erik Makrush, director of operations for the Idaho Freedom Foundation, said as he argued against the bill. “What will be next, banning kids from sugary sodas or energy drinks, candy or even fast food? This bill, if passed, will further the government intrusion into the lives of Idahoans and opens up even more restrictions in the upcoming years.”
Note: IdahoReporter.com is published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation.