Tanning bed laws for minors would tighten under proposed bill

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JEFFERSON CITY — A proposed House bill would ban anyone under 18 from using a tanning bed for nonmedical reasons.

Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, proposed HB 518 to address high rates of tanning bed usage in Missouri, citing statistics that show it is double the national average. Currently, Missourians under 17 must receive written consent from a parent or guardian to use a tanning bed.

Courtney Mall, a University of Central Missouri nursing student, spoke in favor of the bill.

When Mall started tanning at 16, it was legal for minors to use tanning beds. Even after the law changed to require parental consent at that age, Mall still tanned by getting a friend’s parent to sign for her.

At 19, Mall received her first of two melanoma diagnoses. She will have to receive full body checkups for the rest of her life.

Amanda Peters, a dermatology nurse, also spoke in support of the bill. Peters lost her father-in-law, a tanning bed user, to melanoma.

One person is diagnosed with melanoma every seven minutes in the U.S., and one person dies every hour, Peters said.

The bill grants exemptions for instances where sun beds are used to treat medical conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, Schroer said.

Seventeen other states have already adopted similar legislation.

A representative from the American Suntanning Association spoke in opposition to the bill. He said the real problem is sunburns and not suntanning. He also took issue with being unable to have a dialogue with stakeholders about the legislation prior to it being introduced.

House Bill in House committee

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