Who should regulate teen tanning: lawmakers or parents?

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Younger teenagers in Indiana who want to tan may not have the option much longer.  A bill in the statehouse would outlaw it for anyone under 16, even if Mom or Dad gave them permission.

The big question before the General Assembly is who should have the say so when it comes to teen tanning.  Legislators or parents? Would it take away their rights or better protect their children?

“We’re losing rights to everything it feels like.  And tanning of all things.  Who would think that would be an issue,” Carolyn Lahmeyer said.

A new report is to thank for a new bill that could turn the light out on teen tanning.  The Journal of the American Medical Association found indoor tanning before the age of 35 increased the risk of skin cancer by 75 percent.

“True story, I diagnose and treat skin cancer everyday. I have patients of all occupations and all ages with skin cancer,” Dermatologist Dr. Carrie Davis said.

Bloomington Dermatologist Dr. Carrie Davis told legislators tanning is the second leading cause of cancer among 15 to 29-year-olds.  So, should the government regulate and restrict young tanners?

“It’s like just as dangerous as eating fast-food but you can choose to do that,” teen Natalie Lahmeyer said.

Natalie and her mom Carolyn said it should be their decision, not the government.

“I know lots of friends with tattoos and if you’re allowed to get tattoos under 18 with your parents permission, why can you not go tanning. It’s not as severe or permanent.”

14-year-old Sophia Vincent said tanning helps her prepare better for Spring Break.

“My Dad didn’t really let me but now he lets me and I used to get burnt easier than I do now,” teen Sophia Vincent said.

And parents who let their kids tan said legislators shouldn’t decide what’s best for their kids.

“Definitely should be the parent’s choice,” Gidget O’Brien told NewsChannel 15.

“Well, I think it should be the parent’s right to let their child if they choose to tan,” Kelli Brimner said.

“It’s not endangering other people,” Lahmeyer said.

The House has already passed the bill.  Before it becomes law it must be passed in the Senate.

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