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Virginia Lawmakers Table Tanning Bed Bill

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Citing health reasons, two Virginia high school students are supporting efforts for a mandatory minimum age for those who use tanning beds.

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Virginia lawmakers tabled a bill Thursday that would keep young teens out of tanning beds.

Centreville High School seniors Emma O’Brien and Taylor Marrow are trying to change Virginia law.

"I have a history of skin cancer in my family," O’Brien said.

"When I was younger I even had a scare of skin cancer myself, so this really hit home for me," Marrow said.

They want the commonwealth to ban children 14 and younger from using tanning booths. For those ages 15 through 17, they want parents to give written approval.

"It's definitely fallen out of vogue in the past few years, especially with people really concerned for their health, but I can think of one or two people who have definitely overused tanning booths and it's kind of concerning," O’Brien said.

The students teamed with Democratic State Sen. George Barker.

"He was just really down to earth, helping us even when we were really nervous going up to present this bill," Marrow said.

Earlier this session, they testified in front of Virginia's Senate.

"Their quality of research in their work has been outstanding," Barker said.

He has worked with Centreville High School students on legislation the students initiate. It's not just about turning a bill into law, he said. It's a lesson of determination.

"You've got to have persistence and patience to be on these types of things,” he said. “I do have a sign on my desk that says 'Never, never, never, never give up,' and you know several pieces of legislation that several student groups have come up with that I've gotten passed, I didn't get passed the first year."

O'Brien and Marrow get that, and eventually they want to see their bill become law.

"To just be a part of this whole process and be able to tell people, 'Oh yeah, I made a law. No big deal,'" O’Brien said.

"The ASA strongly believes that decisions regarding UV light should be left in the hands of parents,” the American Suntanning Association told News4. “Banning teens will result in pushing them to unregulated alternatives like home units or even risking sunburn outdoors."

Related Topics tanning bed bill, tabled, Virginia
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