Plug may pulled on tanning for teens

Goggles and parental consent may not be good enough, say lawmakers
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
Those under 18 may soon be banned from using indoor tanning beds in California, even with parental consent. Senate Bill SB 746, being championed by democratic Senator Ted W. Lieu of Torrance, passed on the senate floor with a 24-9 vote. The bill, also backed by the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatological Society, still needs to be considered by the assembly. Some indoor tanning supporters in Auburn believe the bill infringes on parents’ rights, while others, including local medical professionals, are in favor of the ban. Penny Hubbard, who manages California Tan in Auburn, said many people under 18 come in to tan just before prom or summer. She tans indoors under ultraviolet lamps to avoid burning outdoors in the sun. “If I am able to do the full time in here, which is 25 minutes, then I know I am able to be in the sun two and a half hours without burning,” Hubbard said. Current law forbids children under 14 from tanning in indoor beds, while those 14-17 need parental consent. Hubbard, who has two daughters under 14, said the current law is already too strict. “I don’t think this is fair at all. It takes away the parents right to decide,” Hubbard said. “I have two daughters under 14. My daughter just went on a field trip and got really burned even with sunscreen. Had she had a little bit of a tan she wouldn’t have burned as bad. They act as if we don’t know how to raise our own kids.” California Tan customer Jennifer Dickson, 39, of Auburn, doesn’t agree with the bill either. “I think the government already has too much control over everything we do,” Dickson said. “If a parent says it’s OK, that should be good enough.” Fellow customer Jennifer Sipherd, 25, of Auburn is on the same page as Senator Lieu. “I think it’s good for it to be banned. I’m 25 and I know the effects of it and I am aware of the risks,” Sipherd said. “If they want to tan, they can use self-tanner or spray tans. I don’t do it very often. It’ll be something I want my own kids to wait on.” Sutter Independent physician Dr. Mark Vaughan of the Auburn Medical Group said he treats many skin cancer cases locally each year. “As a doctor who sees lots of skin cancer cases in Auburn I discourage people from using any ultraviolet methods at all to accentuate their tan,” Vaughan said. “That also includes using the sun to turn their skin a different color. Natural tones are beautiful.” Vaughan said many of the patients he treats for skin cancer grew up tanning in the sun in Southern California during the 60’s and 70’s. He agrees that exposure to ultraviolet rays at a young age comes with an increase of problems. “It adds the years of damaging rays to the sun,” Vaughan said. “Those are the years that most of the damage occurs and we see the effect later. It needs to be an adult decision to radiate your body.” Lieu said that research shows that those who use tanning beds before age 35 show an increased risk of 75 percent when it comes to developing skin cancer. “The science is clear: use of tanning beds causes skin cancer,” Lieu said in a statement. “The younger kids are when they start using these tanning beds, the greater the damage to their skin, and the more likely they are to die of skin cancer.” Reach Sara Seyydin at