Proposed bill could ban minors from tanning beds

TULSA -- Some say you go at your own risk. Others say it's just plain relaxing.

A proposed bill in Oklahoma would keep teens out of tanning beds.

As of now, most tanning salons allow people who are 16 years of age or older to tan with their parents' consent. But some lawmakers believe exposing young kids to UV rays so young is too dangerous.

We used to get sun on a swing set, but now teens are going to the tanning bed.

"I'd probably say about 15 percent to 20 percent,"  said Jenks Tanning & Boutique manager Chantel Terry.

Teens make up a big portion of Terry's cliental, even though their parents have to sign off on it and even be there.

"Everything you do comes with risks," Terry said.

But that risk could change the rules.

"It's a self-esteem booster," Terry said. "You look good, you feel good and anything doing in excess can be dangerous."

Senate Bill 765, which is expected to be read this week, would bar minors from using tanning beds.

"They can get really addicted to it where they just want to tan all the time and 16 and 17-year-olds don't think about the consequences of 10 or 15 years down the road," Jenks resident Debra Johnson said.

Johnson says her daughter isn't getting near those UV rays.

"I'm a former pediatrician and I just know that the health risks for it," she said. "So she would have to wait until she was 18 and she could do it without my consent."

Johnson says skin cancer, especially melanoma, isn't worth the sun-kissed look.

"It's always been perceived healthier looking to be tan rather than to be pale," she said.

For now, 16 year olds can still get that glow. 

"We have customers that come in religiously every single day and have for the last four or five years and they feel fine and look good and there's been no cancer or anything like that," Terry said.

But the minutes to tan could be counting down.

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