Reactions to teen tanning bed ban

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Commercial tanning beds may soon be off limits to Hoosiers younger than 16.

The regulations are under a new bill that passed 30 to 17 in the state Senate last week.

Sarah Avenatti, of ClintonIndiana, started tanning at the age of 13.

Now 2 years later, she tans as much as three times a week.

“Some kids actually made fun of how pale I was, so I started going and it made me feel better about myself. It helped my acne, and I just enjoy it,” she says.

She may no longer be able to get that golden glow indoors at a salon.

“With me it made me feel good about myself so I was like I want to keep doing this. I want to keep tanning,” says Avenatti.

Currently Indiana teens 16-18 must have signed parental consent to tan.

Those under 16 must have a parent present during each visit, but a new bill aims to ban the teens under 16 from using the beds altogether.

“I was pretty upset about it, pretty upset,” says Avenatti.

Sarah’s not the only one upset.

For Indiana tanning salons, business started heating up at the start of 2014, when a similar ban went into effect in Illinois.

“We have seen an increase in our Illinois people coming over to Terre Haute to tan,” says Heather Bucklew, District Manager at Sun Factory Tanning.

The boost won’t be the case for long, regardless of parental consent.

“We definitely don’t want to loose any business from the bans, and we definitely feel like it takes a little bit of rights away from the parents to let their child tan or not,” says Bucklew.

There are known health concerns, but she says they make sure teens make safety a priority.

“We train them as far as not wanting to burn clients. We’re here to get them a tan. Tanning slow in a small amount actually gives you a better tan in the long run,” says Bucklew.

“I am aware of the risks of tanning that you can get skin cancer, but I really think it should be my parent’s choice,” says Avenatti.

People against the bill say this ban could lead to riskier alternatives.

“I would probably buy a tanning bed,” says Avenatti.

The bill has to pass in the house before it can be sent to the Governor.

The regulations would go into effect immediately after the bill is signed.

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