One local legislator is looking to curb the use of minors using tanning beds in an effort to help prevent skin cancer.

State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township introduced a measure this week that would protect minors from the dangers of artificial tanning. The proposed bill would block tanning salon owners from allowing people under 18 from using their beds regardless of parental or legal guardian consent. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that people who use tanning beds before the age of 35 are at a 75% increased risk for melanoma.

Vaupel, who chairs the House Health Policy Committee, said that whether you get a tan from a bed or the sun, that continual UV radiation exposure is proven to lead to premature skin aging and various forms of cancer. The Representative said that while trillions are being spent on treating debilitating diseases, only 4% of health care costs are spent on preventing them. He believes that by eliminating what he calls some of the common sense causative factors, like, tanning beds, fairly dramatic cuts in health care costs could be achieved.

Vaupel said that dermatologists and oncologists are sensitive to the fact that this might slow down the use of beds a little bit. The representative said that people looking at tanning options should consider spray tanning options that are safer than beds. House Bill 6450 now moves to the House Regulatory Reform Committee for further consideration. (MK)