Prefiled legislation could change tanning bed regulations

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo - A prefiled bill for the 2018 legislative session could prevent people under the age of 18 from using tanning beds.

"I mean yeah I tanned ever since I was 16 years old and I don't see any issues with it," said Briana Nelson, a regular clients at Tan Company.

According to the tanning salon many high school students come in before prom and other dances to use the tanning beds. State Representative Nick Schroer said House Bill 1260 would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to use a tanning bed.

"You know just like cigarettes lead to cancer, alcohol leads to cirrhosis of the liver, we know, we have scientific evidence that that UVA [ultraviolet-A] beds and UVB [ultraviolet-B] both lead to melanoma," said Rep. Schroer.

He is also critical of how powerful tanning beds can be.

"Let's say someone spends an hour in the sun. In these UVA beds that is about ten minutes, so it is a much quicker rate, and using these beds is giving them a much greater risk of melanoma later on in life," he said.

Nelson says she doesn't think this falls under a responsibility of the government.

"As long as you are using lotion, using eye protection, I don't really see why the government should have a say in you tanning or not," she said.

When asked why the government should be allowed to decide who can use tanning beds, Rep. Schroer said it is a matter of public safety.

"Well I think the government has been clear, especially in the Missouri constitution and the Federal constitution, that yes the government can step in to regulate general welfare in certain aspects. When we are looking at certain areas like cigarette use, the government stepped in to say we don't want our teens, our very vulnerable teens to partake in this certain activity that can definitely cause some health harm."

The bill would allow people under the age of 18 to get spray tans. The 2018 legislative session starts on Jan. 4.