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Indoor Tanning Bill Killed in Committee

February 15, 2013

By Allison Landry
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A bill to ban minors 14 and younger from tanning at a tanning salon has been killed for this legislative session.

The House Committee on Commerce and Labor voted Thursday that Senate Bill 1274 be “passed by indefinitely,” meaning it won’t go any further. The bill, sponsored by Sen. George Barker, D-Alexandria, previously had passed the Senate, 34-5.

Virginia is one of 19 states that have considered indoor tanning legislation this year, according to AIM at Melanoma, a foundation that promotes prevention and research involving skin cancer.

Virginia’s current law, which took effect in 2007, states that to use a tanning facility, minors under 15 must get written permission from a parent or legal guardian every six months.

Barker’s legislation would have banned minors under 15 from using tanning salons at all. And it would have required 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds to obtain parental or guardian consent before visiting a tanning parlor.

Barker said he plans to propose similar legislation next session. He said tanning should be recognized as a health risk just as dangerous as smoking or drinking.

“We already do have a number of things where we say that the dangers are significant enough that we will prohibit it for minors and other types that we restrict with parental consent and that sort of thing,” Barker said.

“I think part of the issue is getting the members of the House of Delegates committee comfortable that this is in a similar category in terms of danger.”

According to Barker, the House Committee on Commerce and Labor “knows that there is some damage that clearly occurs with tanning beds. But the members of the committee may not understand the science behind it as they do with cigarettes and alcohol.”

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On the Web

AIM at Melanoma, a cancer research group, has compiled information on the tanning laws in each state at http://tinyurl.com/tanning-laws.

The Virginia Department of Health has posted the full text of Virginia’s tanning law at www.vdh.state.va.us/epidemiology/radiologicalhealth/tanning/law.htm