A Pennsylvania Senate committee has approved a bill to regulate teenagers' use of indoor tanning salons. The measure would require minors to have a parent or guardian with them before using a tanning facility for the first time. Anyone younger than 14 years-of-age would need a doctor's written permission to use tanning beds.
In February, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for tanning booths to be off limits for all minors, but Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh County) doesn't think an outright ban is necessary.
"I think we can trust families to make the appropriate decision. I believe that better empowering parents to the use of these facilities by their children and allowing that to happen is the way to go," said Browne who is the lead sponsor of the legislation.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 31 states regulate indoor tanning by minors, and California bans all minors from using tanning beds. To help with enforcement, Browne's bill calls for licensing fees and inspections of all indoor tanning facilities.
"There was concerns up front that having mandatory inspections with the initial application would exceed the revenue gained from the fee structure, so what we did is we made the initial inspection a may provision, and then allowed the department to do random inspections," said Browne.
Browne does not buy into the argument that the licensing regulations would push tanning salons out of business. He said if that were the case, there would be much more push back by the industry.