Jumping Through Hoops to Tan

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- Teens may soon have to jump through hoops just hop into a tanning bed if House Bill 1301 passes. The bill amends current law to require students under 18 to get not only parental consent but a doctors note to tan.

The current law requires: anyone who tans to wait 24 hours between tanning sessions, teens under 18 must have parental consent, those under 16 must have a parent at the facility during the entire session and children under 13 must have a doctors note in order to tan.

"I've got men and women in their sixties all the way down to teenagers getting ready for prom," Carribean Tan Owner, Mark Johnson said inside a private tanning suite.

Johnson's salon, like all tanning salons in Texas, is already subject to regulation from both the state and local health department. The changes to the law would add one more requirement he thinks might hurt business. In the industry, business picks up from February through June and teenagers getting ready for prom add to the rush.

"I know that if parents want their child to tan, they'll find a way." Johnson says the shop will follow any new regulations and so will parents if teens really want to tan, "We adhere to the 24 hour rule and we tell our clients everything in moderation, especially our teenage clients."

Still some say the bill will help teenagers avoid the pitfalls of too much UVA/UVB exposure.

"From everything we've heard on the subject, I think it's a good idea, I think a lot of [teens] just don't know the implications," Mother Shirley Terply says it may help prevent premature wrinkling for many young tanners.

"When you get to be an older woman you realize the damage you've done," Terply said.

Others including Johnson advocate moderation.

"I don't know why you would have to have a doctors note to go tan," Paula Snyder said while shopping in Odessa on Wednesday.

Doctors say tanning can benefit psoriasis and eczema sufferers, but overall, too much exposure can cause premature aging and may lead to skin cancer. Tanning also provides a source for Vitamin D but supplements and diet can also offer the essential nutrient.

Dr. Robert Chappell, an Odessa dermatologist says for special occasions tanning is okay. While he says he does not advocate tanning for most people he says in moderation it does not pose a serious threat.