Cracking Down on Teen Tanning

By: Charly Arnolt Email
By: Charly Arnolt Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- This time of year, people avoid paleness like it's the plague. Even with a lack of real sunlight, you don't have to go far to catch some rays.

Charleston is notorious for the need to tan, and now it's feeling the heat at the political forefront.

"We just want people to know that there is risk at tanning beds," Sen. Ron Stollings said.

The Senate passed a bill Monday that would require anyone in the state ages 14 to 17 to have parental consent to use a tanning bed. Those under 14 need more than just a signed form; they need their parent with them.

"When you get a bad burn when you're that young that's not good ... that can really harm you for the rest of your life, so I think it's a great idea," said Krystle Smith, owner of Hot Spot Tanning.

It's an issue of preventing skin cancer, and one lawmakers hope will shed some much needed light.

"We don't want to put tanning bed people out of business, but we do need to let people know that there's risk with this certain behavior," Stollings said.

"I wouldn't want someone to sell tanning bed services to my 12-year-old granddaughter in the absence of her parents knowing about it and signing off on it," Sen. Mike Hall said.

Smith says she isn't worried about the legal heat because parental consent has always been a part of her business plan.

"It will not affect my business because I have run my business this way for 12 years," she said. "Will it affect other businesses? Possibly, but I can't imagine I would see your biggest clientele being 14 to17 years old."

But the new law would make parents part of the plan, just in case.

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