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August 29, 2015

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Legislature 2013:

Bill aims to restrict teenage use of tanning beds in Nevada

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Steve Marcus / Las Vegas Sun

Alicia Jaeger lies in a filter glass tanning bed at a BodyHeat tanning salon in Henderson, Jan. 16, 2009.

Nevada teens — now prohibited from smoking and drinking — may face new obstacles when going to tanning salons for that “healthy look” if new legislation gains steam.

Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Las Vegas, called her bill the “first step” to protecting those under 18 years old from cancer.

“They want that healthy look and it’s not healthy,” says Woodhouse, who got strong support for Senate Bill 257.

The bill would require those teens to get permission from parents, who would have to be present at the first session. Businesses could face sanctions if they ignored the proposed law.

Tom McCoy of the American Cancer Society urged the Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor and Energy to go a step further and bar teens altogether.

“The risks do not go away with the permission of the parents,” McCoy said at the hearing Wednesday. He said Texas has a similar law and there was only an 11 percent compliance rate in getting parental consent.

Sen. Joseph Hardy, a physician, questioned how much a tanning session costs. No one could come up with an answer and that prompted the Boulder City Republican to quip, “Anybody who can afford a tanning may be getting too much of an allowance.”

Woodhouse's sister died from cancer, and her husband has battled the disease.

Former state Sen. Allison Copening of Las Vegas urged passage, saying it “would protect the children at no expense” to the tanning businesses.

The bill provides a penalty of $2,000 for the first offense if the owner does not get the permission of parents and $4,000 for each subsequent offense.

Tanning operators would be required to post warning signs for customers to avoid too frequent or too lengthy exposure.

The operator would also be required to advise patrons to wear protective eyewear and warn that some “medications and cosmetics may increase your sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation.”

Woodhouse said she would work with those who questioned the penalties and who want teens banned altogether. The committee will continue to deliberate the bill.

Medical officials said similar bills have been introduced in at least three previous sessions and were never passed.

Note: This story has been revised to correct information about Woodhouse's husband.

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