HB34: Bill vote means those under 18 can still tan with parental permission

The Utah Legislature has been in session since Jan. 28. (Decker Westenburg)

A bill sponsored by an Orem lawmaker to restrict tanning by teens under age 18 come to an early end after it was voted down by the Utah House on the first day of the Legislature. 

The bill would have reinstated a ban to keep teens under 18 from using tanning beds at Utah salons. While passed by an interim legislative committee, the measure was defeated 42-33 House on the opening day of the Legislature.

Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, says he wanted to remove the exceptions after interest groups convinced him of the dangers of tanning for minors. “It struck me, tanning for teens is extremely dangerous,” said Daw, who sponsored HB34. “Teens are extremely vulnerable.”

In 2012, the Utah law, which prohibited teen tanning, was amended to allow minors to use tanning beds if a parent or physician granted permission. A similar bill that would have removed the parental permission exemption from the 2012 law was proposed but not passed a few years ago. Daw admitted he voted no on the bill at the time but had since been convinced of the tanning dangers.

Proponents of the bill cited research from the Cancer Action Network which says “a 2016 study found that indoor tanning was associated with a six-fold increase in melanoma risk among women younger than age 30.”

Speaking of the proposal, Alexis Osmond, UVU sophomore and former employee at a tanning club, said, “It should be an individual’s choice, but the risks should be better publicized.” She had worried about the bill also hurting tanning businesses.

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