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New Texas law bans minors from indoor tanning

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

SHERMAN, TX -- For years doctors have warned of the risks of using tanning beds. Now, a new law is in effect in Texas, banning anyone under age 18 from using a tanning bed in a salon.

Many people we spoke with understand the health risk, but say it should be their decision when it comes to the matter.

Texas has now joined four other states in banning teens from indoor tanning.

Doctors say this will greatly reduce the growing rate of skin cancer. But, one Sherman salon owner says it will kill small businesses.

For many teens in high school, tanning is the norm.

"I was tanning like before dances and everything, whenever you would need to be tan and not super white," Kassidy Anderson said.

But when minors head to a Texas salon they'll now see signs like this one. If you're under 18, you're no longer allowed to use a tanning bed. It overturns the previous law, which allowed certain minors -- those between 16½ and 18 -- to tan with parental consent.

"I can see completely where they're coming from. It's for our health. And I'm a teenager, so I'm a little superficial about things. But again, I think it should be up to the parent," Jessica Mason said.

Dermatologist, Doctor Clint Moss, of Texoma Dermatology Clinic says the new law is solely aimed at keeping people safe.

"This stems from research that has recently come about that people who do start tanning under the age of 18, so early in life, have an 85 percent increase risk for developing melanoma over the course of their life," Dr. Moss said.

Dr. Moss says skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, outnumbering all other cancers combined. And that was the argument doctors made in Austin at this year's legislative session.

But, local salon owner Tana Pirtle is unhappy.

"They're trying to stop people from tanning, and that's never going to happen," Pirtle said.

"I'm sure girls will do whatever they can to get tan," Anderson said.

"If they can't get it in a tanning salon legally, then they'll either find a tanning salon who's not going to care about the law, and who's gonna sneak them in. Or, they're gonna lay out in the sun," Pirtle said.

Pirtle believes the sun is just as dangerous, and says the controlled environment of a salon is safer.

"I mean honestly, I'm sure a lot of salons will lose a lot of business, possible go out of business, because of this," Pirtle said.

Dr. Moss says he's aware teens will resort to the outdoors to a get a tan, but he urges everyone to remember to wear sunscreen and limit the amount of time they're outside.

Minors are still allowed to get spray tans.


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