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Advocates call for tighter regulations on tanning beds

Photo: KSL TV Lawmakers in the Utah House have passed an updated bill to ban minors from using tanning beds even with parental consent. The bill was originally dropped earlier in the session.

SALT LAKE CITY — Tanning beds need better regulations, advocates for skin health say.

Utah is currently ranked #1 in the nation for new cases of Melanoma. Those same advocates say the state needs to do a better job preventing skin cancer.

Brook Carlisle with the American Cancer Society believes it has a lot to do with the law and a little to do with education on the dangers of indoor tanning devices, too.

A new report from the Cancer Action Network shows the trend in artificial tanning, especially in tanning beds, is placing young women increasingly at risk for melanoma.

Carlisle, along with other advocates, says Utah can make good headway on preventing skin cancer by tightening laws surrounding tanning beds.

Current Utah law only prohibits people from using tanning beds more than once in a 24 hours period but as of right now, anyone under 18 just needs adult permission to use indoor tanning devices.

There is a bill is expected in the next session that would ban indoor tanning altogether for anyone under the age of 18.

That law is in line with what Carlisle says the best practices around tanning beds are. She says anyone under the age of 18 shouldn’t be allowed to use them at all, but that the dangers don’t stop the older you get. She says the dangers extend at least all the way up to age 35.

“I think there’s a lack of appreciation for how dangerous they truly are, so I think there’s a lot of public education that needs to be done. We know that one use of a tanning bed under the age of 35 increases your risk of melanoma by 59%.”