New Law for Texas Teen Tanners

By: Heather Sahr Email
By: Heather Sahr Email

SHERMAN, TX--Effective January 1, 2010, anyone under the age of sixteen and a half can no longer set foot in a Texas tanning bed. Anyone under eighteen needs written approval from a parent if they want to tan.

This new law is meant to protect young people who may not know some of the risks associated with tanning. However, some parents and lawmakers are saying this issue doesn't need to be handled by the government.

Tanning salon owner, Debbie Hargesheimer isn't naiïve to the fact that too much tanning can be detrimental to teens. But she says education and moderation are the keys to keeping them safe.

"It's kind of sad that we're stepping back, instead of stepping forward,” Hargesheimer said. “You know we're not teaching these kids how to come to a licensed facility that has been Smart Tan Certified where we can teach them how to tan in moderation, and that's the main word is moderations."

Smart Tan Certification, and several laws already in place by the state of Texas were enacted to help regulate tanning time, and frequency. But some say too many regulations can take away from the roles parents should play.

Hargesheimer is the owner of Ja Makin Me Tan, in Sherman, but she's also a mother.

"I just feel sad that we're not able to teach the kids,” she said, “and senators are actually telling the parents that they can't even have a say so in it."

State representative, and author of the bill that became the law to ban teen tanning, Burt Soloman, was passionate about making a connection between the legal smoking age, and those who should be able to tan, citing that both could lead to cancer.

Congressman Ralph Hall disagrees with the new law, and says he hopes this topic never becomes a federal issue, because some things should be left in the hands of parents.

"I don't think you need any legislation either in the state or in the federal government telling mothers and dads how to treat their sixteen year old,” Hall said. “I think that's up to the family. I'm against anything that silly."

Ja Makin Me Tan won't really be affected by the new law, Hargesheimer said, because most people who tan aren't in that age bracket. It's more the principal of the government trying to run her business that makes her uneasy.

This version of the law is strict by some standards, but Solomon's original draft would have required a doctor's note for anyone under 18 to go tanning.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by nonya Location: amelia on Mar 16, 2011 at 09:29 AM
    wow yall are so dumb... the UVA lights are more intisnce then the sun..
  • by dj Location: texas on Feb 4, 2010 at 07:15 AM
    Here's the deal! Why are we allowing the govt. to control whether or not parents choose to let teenagers tan? Isn't that a personal choice? Educate consumers on the risk, and let them decide. The next thing you know, they will be controlling whether or not girls can color their hair. There are warnings on the boxes-- what if someone has an allergic reaction, or gets cancer from the dye, or gets bleach in their eye and goes blind? I think as long as there is documented parental consent, it should be fine. Having the government control too much of your personal life is not a good thing.
  • by salon owner on Jan 19, 2010 at 01:35 PM
    i am a salon owner and i can tell you that tanning is NO worse than going outside, and prob safer considering the time spent in a tanning bed is regulated. and to "mom" saying its worse than the real sun is absolutely false. see how many old farmers and ranchers who spend time in the sun now have skin cancer. i have multiple people in my family that have skin cancer from years of working in the sun. but yet my mother who has been tanning religiously for years has nothing. not saying that she wont ever, but its no more risky than going outside for a few hours. not to mention the fact that salon owners have to measure the uv ray output on the beds and they have to be under a certain number to meet laws. and like others on here said, it is all about moderation.
  • by Wilbur Location: Texoma on Jan 14, 2010 at 02:07 PM
    I'm ready for more girls tanning outside myself!!! Yeah for the government!!! now if we can just do away with those pesky public exposure laws....
  • by brittni Location: Vidor, Texas on Jan 13, 2010 at 07:22 AM
    why should the goverment have any control over your skin color ? Its your body do what you want with it. People obviously need to find something better to do with themselves. There are people who have tanned their entire lives and never got cancer. Just like abortions , its your body, your baby, do what YOU want. Get over it.
  • by Hutchins Location: Red River on Jan 5, 2010 at 12:14 PM
    Hey kids, this is gonna blow your mind now so sit down, but...if you want to tan your skin, just go outside!!! silly fools....
  • by MadHatter Location: Sherman on Jan 5, 2010 at 10:50 AM
    Why can't people just accept their skin color and stop tanning altogether? What is so wrong with being pale? I would rather be pale than leathery and splotchy.
  • by Bill Location: Southmayd on Jan 4, 2010 at 08:39 PM
    There is nothing wrong with tanning as long as said tanner doesnt over do it,just like everything else."me", raises a very good point.Over zealous lawmakers telling us what we can and cant do,for our own good.
  • by Cat Location: Texas on Jan 4, 2010 at 08:14 PM
    Good point, A. Regardless of education about melanoma and skin cancer, most teens don't think it can happen to them. As a person who has had two melanomas in two different occurances, I can't believe someone who has had skin cancer (was it melanoma or skin cancer?) would go to a tanning salon. That's crazy!
  • by Anonymous on Jan 4, 2010 at 07:13 PM
    It is Obama's fault, they told me.
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