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Editorial: Indiana’s tanning parlor legislation a no-brainer

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The detrimental effects of sun on the skin are well documented. And the impact comes both from too much time spent outside and under the lamps of a tanning parlor.

In recognition of this fact, Indiana has restricted young people’s access to tanning parlors.

Currently, those younger than 16 can use the beds if a parent is present, and those 16 to 18 can tan alone with written permission from a parent or guardian. But a proposed measure before the Indiana General Assembly would ban anyone younger than 16 from tanning, and it still would require those 16 to 18 to have written permission.

That bill passed the state Senate last week and now moves to the House.

Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, said the bill could help parents combat the “awesome power of the teenage girl who wants something their friends have” and protect children from the dangers of skin cancer.

The bill, however, would not bar children of any age from tanning at in-home beds.

Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, the bill’s author, said it has gained support from the tanning industry.

The bill still has to pass the House before it can be sent to the governor. It would go into effect immediately upon the governor signing.

Restricting the access of young people to tanning parlors makes sense in terms of health and safety. Just like smoking, tanning is a legal activity. But government has seen fit to restrict sales to people younger than 18 for health reasons.

The same logic applies to tanning parlors. If people older than 18 want to use them, then that’s their privilege. Younger than that, and Indiana has an obligation to protect its young people.

We urge the House to pass this common-sense measure and forward it to Gov. Mike Pence for his signature.

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