Bill to Ban Indoor Tanning for Minors

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22-year-old Anne Goulet spent many hours during her high school years on a tanning bed. She says it became an addiction and a secret she kept from her family.

"Every day after school, I would immediately be at the tanning salon ready for my 20-minute session in the strongest bed they had," Goulet said.

When she was 19 years old, Goulet was diagnosed with melanoma and went through surgery to remove the cancerous cells. Rep. Jim Townsend, D-Royal Oak, used her story to explain why he introduced a bill to ban minors from indoor tanning.

"There's not enough public education and a ban for minors would certainly send the same kind of signals that banning cigarettes for minors has also sent, which is this is dangerous," said Rep. Townsend.

"Indoor tanning beds emit up to 15 times more ultraviolet radiation than natural sunlight," said dermatologist Dr. Kay Watnick.

However, the owner of J2 Tanning, Jason Hadley, thinks the connection between indoor tanning and skin cancer is exaggerated. Afterall, he says he's been tanning for years and has never had problems. He also allows his daughters, age 15 and 12, to use tanning beds.

"I have a real big problem with them taking my parental rights away and secondly, being the business owner of a tanning salon I certainly don't want to see anything like that passed," Hadley said.

He says it's about tanning in moderation. 20% of his business comes from teens wanting that summer glow.

Under current law, minors who want to do indoor tanning must get parent's consent. Rep. Townsend also introduced a second bill that would create a registry for tanning facilities and require business owners to pay a $75 annual registration fee.

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