Annapolis, Md (KM) Legislation to prohibit people under age 18 from using tanning beds at businesses that offer these services using ultralight technology was approved on Thursday by the House of Delegates. The was 99-38.
“They have been trying to pass legislation on this for the past 12 years. There’s been five previous bills, and this is as far as it’s ever gotten,” says Frederick County Delegate Karen Lewis Young (D), the bill’s sponsor.
She says exposure to artificial sunlight can be harmful to minors. “This will offer great protections to young people who are at risk for tanning beds. The UV rays emitted by these beds are very dangerous. They have about ten times more power than natural sun.
Supporters also say these increased UV rays can lead to skin cancer in later years.
Critics have often said this is overreach on the part of the state government. “Well, is it overreach to say that if you’re under 18, you cannot purchase and smoke cigarettes; or get alcohol and drink it? Why is this different? This is just as dangerous if not more so,” Delegate Young responds.
Others have said it will hurt businesses which make their money by providing indoor tanning services. “There is are times that you’ve got to draw the line. And if your profit model is based on something that’s extraordinarily dangerous, maybe you ought to change you business model,” responds Young.
But she says if this legislation passes, adults can still patronize businesses which operate tanning beds.
Now that the bill has passed the House of Delegates, Young says getting it through the Senate could be challenging. “The vote in their committee was quite a bit closer,” she says. “So I think it will be closer in the Senate. But I think common sense will prevail, and the safety of our young will take precedent some of the other concerns that have been raised.”
Young says there is one favorable vote already lined up in the Senate. She says her husband, Frederick County State Senator Ron Young (D), will vote for it. “He had a nephew that died of that melanoma at the age of 29. So he is very sensitive to this topic,” says Young.