Goshen News, Goshen, IN

State News

March 1, 2014

Indiana 1 of many states aiming to ban tanning

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Lawmakers' efforts to crack down on the use of Indiana tanning beds this year are part of a national push to limit young people's exposure to risks that include skin cancer.

Indiana is one of 33 states that regulate tanning. The state currently requires parental or guardian supervision for anyone under 16 to use tanning beds. Those ages 17 and 18 need permission to go to a tanning salon alone.

That could change under a bill that passed the House last week and is headed back to the Senate for one last review.

This year's bill from Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, represents a compromise after a measure last year that would have barred everyone under age 18 from using tanning salons failed. Miller's current bill limits the ban to those under 16.

Supporters say the measure is a good first step, while opponents say it goes too far.

"We're headed in the right direction," said Dr. Lawrence Mark, an Indiana University skin cancer expert. "This is one step getting the foot in the door."

Nearly every state has moved to restrict or ban tanning among minors since California and then Vermont banned tanning for anyone under 18 in 2012.

Lawmakers in Iowa, where a ban failed last year, are taking another run at it this year.

"People are paying a little bit more attention to it," said Iowa Rep. Lisa Heddens, a Democrat. "There's more awareness out there, so it's getting a little more traction because of the issue."

Heddens' bill hasn't made it to a full House vote this year, although a similar bill is under Senate review. She says lawmakers are wary of placing more regulations on businesses.

Marcy DeShong, who owns several Bronze Bay Tanning salons in Indiana, said she isn't worried about losing business because most of her customers are 17 or 18.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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