Some people would say that it is up to parents to make the decision on this for their own kids, but a new law signed by Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin yesterday makes it illegal for children to use an indoor tanning bed.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in six high school girls will use a tanning device by their senior year.
Sen. Ervin Yen co-authored Senate Bill 765, which makes it illegal for any child under 18 to use a tanning bed.
About a dozen other states allow tanning with parental or guardian consent for those under 18, but Yen doesn’t think that’s enough.
“When you look at those states, the teenage tanning did not decrease, and that’s the whole point. We’re trying to decrease teenage tanning,” Yen said.
While Sen. Rob Standridge does think some control is merited, he worries banning all minors could infringe on parent’s rights.
“This is a very strong parental rights state, as you know, and we try to entrust parents with those tough decisions like that, so the question is should a parent be trusted for this with their kid?” Standridge said.
Last week, the bill passed the House of Representatives 57-35, sending it to Gov. Fallin’s desk for her signature.
Reports show that an estimated 790 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in Oklahoma this year alone. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.