Teen tanning ban moves to Governor’s desk

Teens in Illinois are just one signature away from being banned from tanning beds, and the bill has local business owners and parents upset.

Debbie Clement owns Doug’s Electra Beach in Moline, and she is just one salon owner who says her business could suffer if Governor Pat Quinn signs a bill stopping anyone under 18 from using indoor tanning beds.

“It very well could hurt our business, yes,” said Clement.

Currently, 14 to 17-year-olds in Illinois can tan with a parent’s signature, and Clement feels a ban won’t keep teens from tanning.

“No, they’re just going to tan elsewhere, either at a neighbor’s house or outdoors,” said Clement.

And some parents fear the legislation, which has already passed the Illinois House and Senate, could turn Illinois into a “nanny state.”

“I did it [tanning] when I was in high school, and my mom was fine with it, and for special occasions, I can see that. On a regular basis, probably not, but I feel like I should be the one to decide that,” said mom Kenlee McConaghy.

The health risks, though, are well-documented.

A study by the American Cancer Society showed that frequent users of tanning beds are two to three times more likely to develop melanoma than those who never tan indoors.

“Overall, it’s probably a good rule because we’re going to have less potential for excessive tanning,” said Rock Island County Environmental Health Director Paul Guse.

Some, though, say the bill pits public health versus personal freedom.

“I think it should be all up to the parents really, because what right does the government have to tell a parent that their child cannot tan?” asked Jami Collier.

Under the bill, spray-on tans would be exempt from the ban.

Right now, California and Vermont are the only states with an outright ban on minors tanning.

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