Tanning restrictions for teens pass the Virginia Senate; fate in House is uncertain

Kids 14 and younger would no longer be allowed in Virginia tanning salons if legislation the state Senate passed Friday survives the House.

The bill, put forward by Sen. George L. Barker (D-Fairfax), would ban the use of tanning devices by anyone under 15 and require those under 18 to get parental consent before tanning.

Under current Virginia law, tanning salons cannot admit children under 15 without a signature from a parent every six months.

“I am glad that just as we have restricted teen access to other products and activities that are harmful to young people, we have taken this step towards restricting unlimited access to something shown to be very dangerous to teenagers,” Barker said in a statement.

California, Illinois, Oregon, Nevada, Texas and Vermont have outlawed the use of tanning beds by all minors. Eleven states ban tanning at an age younger than 18, and 26 require parental consent for teens under 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to require more-detailed labels on tanning beds recommending that people under 18 steer clear of the devices. People who begin tanning before age 35 face a 75 percent higher risk of developing melanoma, according to research highlighted by the American Cancer Society. The risk of developing other skin cancers is also higher.

Barker introduced the same legislation last year; it passed in the Senate but was voted down in a House committee. This year, Del. Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington) has sponsored an identical bill in the House and Del. Joseph R. Yost (R-Giles) has proposed banning tanning for those younger than 18. Neither bill has emerged yet from committee.

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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