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Under-16 tanning ban OK'd by Senate panel

INDIANAPOLIS – A Senate panel on Wednesday unanimously voted to ban the use of ultraviolet tanning for anyone under the age of 16 in Indiana.

Current law allows young adults younger than 18 to tan with the written permission of their parent or guardian.

But Senate Bill 50 bans the practice for anyone younger than 16 and still requires adult permission for anyone 16 or 17.

The legislation also requires the Indiana State Department of Health to adopt standards concerning the use of tanning devices in Indiana.

It now moves to the full Senate for possible amendment and vote.

“There are considerable dangers here when you bathe your skin in a carcinogen,” said Dr. William Hanke, a dermatologist from Indianapolis. “We have the data.”

Joe Levy, of the American Suntanning Association, said the bill is a compromise piece of legislation supported by the industry.

“Everyone needs to understand the risks,” he said, but he cautioned against overstating. The group does not support banning all teens from tanning because once they get a driver’s license they can more easily go to unregulated businesses.

The Indiana State Medical Association also testified in support of the legislation.

At least one member of the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee wanted to go further – banning tanning for anyone under 18.

Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, also would prefer more educational components – such as warnings about the health risks of tanning. He could offer those on second reading.

nkelly@jg.net

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