Maryland teens may soon be banned from using an electric tanning bed.
The Maryland State Senate is considering legislation that would prohibit anyone under 18 from using an electric tanning bed, eliminating a provision in Maryland law that allows minors to tan if they have parental permission.
In 2009, Howard County became the first jurisdiction in Maryland to ban tanning for teenagers. The Howard County law does allow minors to use commercial tanning beds if they have a prescription from a doctor.
Last year, California enacted a law to keep minors out of tanning beds.
A panel of doctors and cancer research representatives spoke in favor of the bill in the Maryland Senate, noting research they say suggests tanning beds can cause multiple forms of skin cancer, including melanoma.
According to the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation, the disease is the most common cancer among adults 25 to 29 and the number of cases has been accelerating in young white women since 1992.
Opponents argued that exposure to ultraviolet light can toughen the skin and reduce the chance of developing melanoma.
Scientists opposed to the bill said that studies that suggest serious risks are associated with tanning beds are skewed because they include very fair-skinned people who are more likely to develop melanoma.
Several tanning salon owners testified their employees take precautions to make sure teens don't tan without parental permission and that people with fair skin are discouraged from using electric beds.