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Bill would bar Arizona salons from letting teens in tanning beds

PHOENIX – As a mother of five, Rep. Peggy Judd said she understands why that bronze glow offered by tanning beds is so appealing to teens heading to proms or dance recitals.

But she also looks with worry at studies suggesting that exposure to intense ultraviolet rays can lead to melanoma and other skin cancers.

“I think the less sun we put on kids, the better,” she said. “They’re already in the sun all day, and adding indoor tanning to that is causing cancer.”

Judd, a Republican from Willcox, has introduced a bill that would ban establishments from allowing those under 18 into tanning beds.

Arizona law currently requires minors to get written parental consent before using tanning beds, but Judd said risks aren’t necessarily clear to children and parents.

“UV rays have been proven to cause cancer,” she said. “So what’s the push to get kids in the tanning bed?”

Judd’s bill, HB 2596, was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee but has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer have declared that ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds is a cause of cancer.

Of the 28 million people who use tanning beds in the United States each year, 8 percent are teenagers, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dr. Bill Halmi, vice president of the Arizona Dermatology Association, said his organization supports Judd’s bill because of the risks tanning beds pose for young people.

“If you start indoor tanning before 30, it increases your risk of melanoma by 75 percent,” Halmi said. “If you start before the age of 20, it’s an even greater risk.”

There are 152 professional indoor tanning businesses employing more than 900 people in Arizona, according to the Washington, D.C.–based Indoor Tanning Association. John Overstreet, the group’s executive director, said barring minors from tanning beds would be a financial blow.

“You can’t peel off a portion of a business’s customers and not have it hurt the business,” he said.

Randy Eddlemon, co–owner of Tan United, a Phoenix salon, said that parents should have the right to decide whether their children use tanning beds. He said the service has been unfairly demonized.

“You’re going to get more deadly chemicals from eating a cheeseburger, from wherever it may be from, than you’re going to get in a tanning bed,” Eddlemon said. “The rays that are coming out of our beds are the same as the rays coming from the sun. There’s no difference.”

Judd said a tan just isn’t worth the long–term risk for children.

“I think prohibiting tanning for them is one less thing for them to worry about,” she said.

Tanning bed basics:

• A tanning bed consists of fluorescent lamps that emit ultraviolet radiation that tans skin.
• Depending on the intensity of the lamps, people usually lay in the beds for 10 to 20 minutes.
• The UV radiation from the beds is stronger than the radiation from the sun, so people don’t need as much exposure to get a tan.


  1. As usual for politicians, Rep. Peggy Judd has not done her research on the subject before jumping into action by sponsoring bill HB2596. Her only source of information, most likely, is from The American Academy Dermatology reps. If she and other politicians would do some diligent research into the subject with the approach of getting to the truth, they would be amazed at what they could learn. Look outside the box of the big pharmaceutical controlled sunscare industries such as the AAD. Listed are a few neutral websites, that are more concerned about your health than money – unlike Ms. Judds advisers that are just trained to protect the multi-billion dollar sunscare industry.


    Check out these web sites for the truth on healthy uv exposure. Your health my depend on it.

  2. Good lord Larry, 10 to 1 odds you work for the tanning industry, and if not you’re comment shows the unbelievable ignorance that blinds many stubborn Americans. Tell me what exactly the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION or the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES or the AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS have to gain from stopping kids from tanning? Or what about the research institutions like the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins or Harvard?

    The common theme here is that those institutions are interested in protecting the public health… and not having every single dollar we earn as Americans go toward Healthcare costs. It’s called preventative health care, and its the only sustainable way to do healthcare. If you think Tanningtruth.com (run by the International Tanning Association and the Smart Tan america, who earn hundreds of millions to billions of dollars from their affiliations with the tanning industry) are objective, I’ve got some magic beans and ocean front property in Wyoming to sell you, because you are a moron.

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