Like cigarettes, tanning beds will soon come with a black box warning that the products should not be used by minors. But a Kentucky lawmaker says the warnings won’t be enough to keep teenagers out of the tanning beds.
Henderson Representative David Watkins sponsored legislation this year to prohibit anyone under 18 from using tanning beds. The retired physician says dermatologists are seeing a rise in skin cancer among teens.
"It seems like the younger skin is more sensitive. If we can keep the kids out before 18 then the chances of getting skin cancer are reduced some," suggests Watkins. "It also gives time for their thinking to mature and realize there is a significant risk to tanning beds."
Representative Watkins' legislation failed to clear the Kentucky General Assembly this year, but he will offer it again next year.
Studies have shown that tanning beds are dangerous because of their emission of ultraviolet rays. New federal regulations announced last month by the FDA will change the risk of indoor tanning from low to moderate.
Kentucky currently requires signed parental consent before teens can use tanning beds.