MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Many people use tanning beds to keep their skin glowing all year round.
This is especially true when they’re cutting it close on time, like prom season for teens. Now, two South Carolina Lawmakers are working to prevent minors from using tanning beds.
The American Academy of Dermatology said approximately 7.9 million adult women and 1.9 million adult men in the United States tan indoors. Of that number, about a third said they started tanning before the age of 18.
According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to those ultraviolet rays while indoor tanning can cause skin cancer.
That’s why Sen. Brad Hutto (D) and Sen. Darrell Jackson (D) introduced a bill that would ban anyone under the age of 18 from going into tanning beds. The proposed legislation calls for all tanning businesses to require customer’s photo identification to prove their age.
The bill would also require tanning businesses to post warnings about the health risks of tanning inside the building. Hutto said regardless of age, he wants everyone to be aware of the harmful risks that continuous exposure to UV rays can have on the body.
“We don’t let children make decisions about their health and safety in general. We require car seats, seatbelts, they can’t smoke, they can’t drink, they have to go to school. There’s some things that we have decided that the age of 18 is when they can make decisions. We don’t let children enter into contracts and that type of thing. So, we’ve become aware through talking to dermatologists and American Cancer Society and others that this has become a problem,” said Hutto.
The FDA already says tanning beds shouldn't be used by anyone younger than 18.
Bianca Plancon, general manager of Ultimate Tann of Myrtle Beach, said she understands the importance of this bill, but notes there are salons that have protocols to keep everyone well-informed and to help protect clients, especially teens.
“We care more about your health than us getting your membership money. I rather you tell me, ‘Hey, this is happening,’ then me telling you, ‘You know what, you should probably freeze your account and you should probably get that checked,’" Plancon said. "So, we’re all about safety here. We don’t want something to happen to you and us being the reason why it happened.”
Plancon added she doesn’t see this bill having a major impact on business because they have very few minors who come in to use the tanning bed service. She said most of those who do come in use the spray tan option, which doesn’t expose the skin to the harmful UV rays.
The bill is now in the committee and will next be referred to the subcommittee.