Local impacts from tanning bed bill low
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Minnesota legislators have introduced a bill prohibiting anyone under 18 from using indoor tanning beds.
The new bill, which has been unsuccessfully attempted and in previous sessions, followed the Minnesota Student Survey revealed that a third of 11th grade girls in Minnesota used an indoor tanning salon at least once in the past year.
Nancy Fiegen, owner of Therapeutic Massage, says that most of the young customers that would be barred from using her equipment to tan only use it for a few months before prom.
“Kids [in Granite Falls] don’t tan all year round,” Fiegen said. “Maybe a couple tan before a vacation to get a base, but most of my customers are adults, and they don’t abuse it.”
Fiegen said that there are safeguards in place for kids, but for adults as well, including a high pressure tanning bed that is considered the safest on the market for eliminating most UVB rays.
“It is just like anything: if you don’t overdo it, it is not that bad for you,” Fiegen said.
While tanning is a small part of her business, which also includes zumba, yoga classes and primarily massages, Fiegen still opposes the bill.
“The bill doesn’t restrict tanning beds being bought for someone’s home, where tanning isn’t regulated,” Fiegen said. “They can tan longer than they are supposed to whenever they want, and they won’t even receive the taxes that we pay. [Legislators] are shooting themselves in the foot.”
Terri Nelson, who owns the Hair Connection in Montevideo says if you’re going to use a tanning bed, it’s important to stay in a controlled atmosphere. “If you use them the way you’re supposed to, and don’t abuse them, they’re safer,” she said.
While she hasn’t seen any change in popularity over the last few years, she has noticed that customers are trying to be smarter
“You used to see a lot of people really overdoing it, coming in every day. Not anymore. People are smart, and nobody comes in every day anymore,” Nelson said.
Current Minnesota laws require parental consent for children younger than 16 using tanning beds. If passed, the new bill would make Minnesota one of the strictest in the nation for tanning regulations.
The bills are sponsored by Rep. JoAnn Ward, DFL-Woodbury, and Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, and are waiting on floor votes in both bodies of the Minnesota Congress.