By Joshua Palmer
Parents will have more say in their children”s tanning habits if a state senator has her way.
Pat Jones (D-Salt Lake County) is sponsoring Senate Bill 52, a piece of legislation that would require parents to sign a consent form for children under the age of 18 to use a tanning bed.
“Dermatologists” number one health concern for young woman is melanoma,” Jones said. “Tanning beds are dangerous because they produce two to three times the Ultra Violet Rays of just laying out.”
Jones said many parents are unaware of the dangers of tanning, and sometimes don”t even know their children are tanning.
BYU student Jessica Viehweg, a sophomore radiology major from Boise, Idaho, first went tanning when she was 16 years old.
“I don”t think my parents ever knew,” Viehweg said. “I never had to have my parents sign a consent form.”
Jones said her daughter used to go tanning twice a week in high school, and she only recently found out about it.
“There is no way I would have let her go if I had any say in it,” Jones said.
Jones said Davis County implemented a restrictive policy that decreased the number of minors using tanning beds because parents were required to come in with them every time. She said a problem surfaced when teenagers started crossing county lines to avoid the restrictions.
“We would like to create a statewide policy to control this problem,” Jones said.
Jones is getting a positive response from many tanning salons, she said. The higher quality salons are already requiring consent forms, she said, and believe the bill will not only protect minors, but set positive guidelines for the industry.
Katie Lutu, manager of Seaside Tanning in Provo, said her salon already requires people under the age of 18 to have a parent sign a consent form. She said the legislation will not have a big effect on her business because she estimates only 5 to 10 percent of her business comes from people under the age of 18.
“A lot of the time they come in because they are getting ready for dances,” Lutu said. “Besides that, most of our customers are college-age students or older.”
Lutu”s salon also offers a “mystic tan,” which is a machine that sprays on a fake tan and does not use any UV rays whatsoever. The mystic tan lasts about a week.
The bill has already passed two committee readings and is on the senate floor. Jones is hopeful the bill will pass both the senate and house.
“We are seeing a great deal of support for this bill,” Jones said.