Bill in Missouri House looks to ban tanning bed use for those under 18

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- "It definitely was a concern for myself and a lot of my friend group to go tanning," said Kortni Moll.

Moll is a 20-year-old junior nursing student at the University of Central Missouri.

Like many other women her age, she's no stranger to tanning beds.

"My mom actually did purchase a tanning bed when I was younger. I was probably 11 or 12," Moll said. "I remember using it once or twice."

When she was 16 and able to drive, she started going to salons.

"I think, honestly, a week or maybe a month after I started tanning myself, they passed a law to have parental consent," Moll recalled.

That's the bill that is law right now.

If you're younger than 17, you need to have your parent sign off for you to use a tanning bed at a salon.

"I don't even think I thought to ask my mom, because I knew she would say no," Moll said. "But, I went ahead and had one of my friends parents sign for me, because I knew they would do so."

Last week marked a year since Moll was first diagnosed with melanoma. But just this year, she was diagnosed again. Her dermatologist found another spot that was cancerous.

"It's terrifying," Moll admitted.

That's why she is speaking in support of this bill, sponsored by O'Fallon Republican Nick Schroer.

It will ban Missourians younger than 18 from using tanning beds.

The American Cancer Society says about 96,480 new melanomas will be diagnosed this year, a majority of those cases being in men.

They also say over 7,000 people are expected to die of melanoma in 2019.

Despite the American Cancer Society's statistics, Joseph Levy with the American Tanning Society says the tanning beds aren't the issue.

"Sunburn doubles the risk of melanoma, which is a larger increase than what is alleged from sunbed use," Levy said.

A Jefferson City tanning salon owner also spoke out against the bill.

She says there are more tanning beds that teens have access to in gyms and homes that are not in salons, where there is a professional available to educate.

"No matter what you do with this bill, the state does not have the ability to budget to even find these beds."

There was no vote on this bill Monday, so it stays in committee, there are no other hearings set for it right now.