Group proposes tanning bed ban for teens

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Some medical experts say the obsession with having a tan could have negative effects on young people in the future.

Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics wants it to be illegal for any person under 18 to use a tanning bed.

"I don't think they should be going to tanning beds at all," said Dr. Karl Gruber of Trident Health System. "The reason is tanning beds cause a tan by exposing someone to predominantly UVA rays, and they used to be thought of as being harmless, but they're not."

Gruber said UVA rays cause skin cancer and premature aging. The proposed ban really burns up the tanning bed industry.

"I do feel like it's un-American," said Hannah Hipps, owner of Sun Station Tanning Studios. "I mean people should be able to choose what they want to do. Right now South Carolina regulates that anyone under 18 has to have a parent's consent, and I think that's fair. If a parent says their child can tan. Let them tan."

In a statement opposing the ban, The Indoor Tanning Association said, " The document fails to mention that there is no research indicating there is something unique about a teenager's skin that would make he or she more susceptible to skin cancer."

Currently more than 30 states regulate tanning by minors.

"I would disagree with that," said Gruber in response to the statement. "There may not be the outright data, but we do know that UVA causes damage. That's a cumulative effect so the earlier you start, the more you've got to live with it."

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