Lawmakers in Oregon State took a step in advancing a proposal that would bar minors from sunlamps on a 38-18 vote, following an hour-long debate, media reports say. The debate in both houses of Congress cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that Oregon women diagnosed with melanoma have the highest death in the nation. The bill, which allows for medical exceptions, now heads to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where supporters say it has a good chance of passing.
However, opponents of the bill say that salon operators already have rules in place that make such laws unnecessary. The provisions will become little more than a drag on local economies.
Mitch Teal, owner of Bronze Planet tanning salons in the Salem, Ore., area, says his salons require minors to have parental permission to use tanning beds and that if a ban passes the effect is going to be fewer customers.
Supporters of the bill point to examples such as Katie Donnar, the former Miss Indiana contestant who says that years of tanning left her with an aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer. The prominent, four-inch scar on the outside of her left leg, created by the surgery that successfully removed the melanoma tumor, has become a visible reminder of her role in the push to keep young people out of tanning beds.
Donnar says that the policymakers may be the best outlet for making an impact on teen tanning and supports a ban on teen tanning before lawmakers in her state.
Angie Herriges, an aesthetician in The Dalles, Ore, was also diagnosed with skin cancer after tanning as teenager. She says that doctors told her she had basal cell carcinoma in her mid-30s. She now operates a spray tan booth, which she says is a safe way for the industry to mitigate expected losses if the ban becomes a law.
Dr. Bud Pierce, president of the Oregon Medical Association, agrees that sprays are safe to simulate the effect of sun rays, adding that ultraviolet lamps are not ever. He said that young people who use tanning beds are particularly vulnerable to an increased risk of skin cancer. He added though that one can never be 100 percent sure that one thing is the sole cause of cancer, but certainly multiple researchers have agreed that UV rays are carcinogen.