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New State Law Will Prohibit Teens Under 18 From Using Tanning Beds

New WA bill will probit teens from tanning beds
(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Gov. Inslee is ready to sign a bill that will seriously impact the tanning industry.

Gov. Inslee is expected to sign the measure that will levy a $250 fine (for the first offense) if a tanning salon owner or proprietor allows anyone under the age of 18 to use a tanning bed or similar device. The only exception is if they have a doctor’s note.

Numerous salon owners from around the state are worried about the expected significant drop in their business, as teens make up a large portion of tanning patrons. Some salons say teens make up as much as 75 percent of their tanning customers. Assuming Inslee signs the bill, which is expected, Washington would join six other states with such bans, and it would take effect in June.

However,  many critics say this is an example of government run amok.  While the American Cancer Society and others groups have been preaching caution about overall skin exposure to sunlight -both real and artificial from beds – some legislators say it’s up to families and parents to be careful about sun exposure.  It’s none of the government’s business.

It’s been largely ignored by the media that this ban comes on the heels of the Affordable Care Act’s new 10% tax on tanning beds.   Didn’t remember THAT one did you, legislators? The Indoor Tanning Association last April released data showing that since the tanning bed tax went into effect near the beginning of Obamacare,  some 3,100 tanning businesses have closed (Most of them were small personal operators).  Along with those closures, says the Association, some 35,000 total jobs, part and full-time, were eliminated.

The Association says some $145 million dollars has been been taken away from the tanning industry by this tax, and with new teen bans spreading to other states,  it will further cripple the industry.

According to various searches, we found at least 19 tanning salons or business who offer such services in the Tri-Cities area alone.

Many critics, and even many parents say that the ban won’t stop teenagers from seeking that golden glow.  They say many teens will simply find alternative, and often unsafe or even unhealthy ways to get darker.

One parent in Spokane who was interviewed by KXLY-Channel 4 TV said, “what’s next? Are they going to outlaw lying on the beach?”   Good point!

This makes about as much sense as prohibition did in the 1920’s.

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