House committee passes bill on tanning bed restrictions for teens

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Lawmakers pushing for a ban on tanning bed use for teens for medical reasons are celebrating after the bill passed in a House committee Wednesday morning.

Medical professionals testified tanning beds are harmful to kids under the age of 18. According to a dermatologist from New Orleans, tanning beds are harmful to those 17 and younger because their skin is still developing.

State Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans, offered the bill. She said the cost of treating people with skin cancer is more than $1 billion a year. Doctors warn tanning beds are dangerous to everyone.

"Generally, everybody is at risk; the more you tan, the more at risk you are," said Dr. Mara Haseltine, a dermatologist. "But, we've found that cumulative doses have more to do with it. And, the earlier you start, the more cumulative dose you're going to get. And also, when you're a youngster, your skin cells are more susceptible to UV radiation."

The measure passed with only one objection. The bill now moves to the House floor for consideration.

One man who owns a tanning salon testified in favor of the bill. There was also some talk of banning tanning beds all together.

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