Hoosiers under the age of 16 will no longer be able to use tanning beds at salons under a bill approved by the Senate Thursday.
Current law allows Hoosiers under 18 to use tanning beds in a salon with their parent or guardian’s permission. But Indianapolis Republican Senator Pat Miller’s bill bars anyone under the age of 16 to use the beds at all, regardless of parental consent. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds will still need their parents’ permission.
Miller says research shows indoor tanning can cause skin cancer and notes the World Health Organization classifies tanning beds in the same category as asbestos, arsenic and cigarette smoke.
“The risk for melanoma is especially high for young and young adults,” Miller says. ”The melanoma risk is increased 75 percent when use of tanning devices starts before the age of 30.”
Miller says the bill helps send a message to parents who might not know about the risks of tanning.
But Charlestown Republican Senator Jim Smith says the state shouldn’t presume to know better than parents.
“This is an education process for, I guess, under 16 years of age but apparently the parents of our Hoosiers cannot educate themselves and make those decisions for children under the age of 16,” Smith says.
The bill passed the Senate despite Smith and 16 other Republicans voting against it.
The measure now heads to the House.