MEDFORD, Ore. — Oregon is ranked fourth in the nation for its death rate from skin cancer. Oregon health researchers say it’s because of a high use of tanning beds.
A new house bill is addressing that high skin cancer death rate; it would restrict anyone younger that 18 from using tanning devices, unless the teen has a doctor’s note. Mark Themins owns Jan’s Tans in Medford and it’s safe to say this new bill is a sore subject.
“I think it should be up to the parent’s decision to say if their kids can come in and tan or not,” Themins stated.
House Bill 28-96 would make it the doctor’s decision, requiring a note of recommendation to use the tanning booth. At this point, a small part of the clientele at Jan’s Tans already uses the booth for medical reasons, like psoriasis. Providence Medical Director, Dr. John Jackson, Is not one of those doctors that recommends tanning.
“I don’t think that there’s a compelling reason that recommending someone go tanning is something most physicians would support,” Dr. Jackson said. Dr. Jackson also said if you plan to live into your 80s, you’ll want to protect your skin.
“I talked to a patient earlier today who says he remembers lying on the beach as a teenager,” Dr. Jackson explained, “and he’s now 83 and covered in skin cancer, and I said I bet you didn’t think you were going to live this long, well you have and now you’re paying the price.”
To avoid a similar outcome it seems local women are switching to spray tanning. Heather Swingle says her spray tanning business is soaring among teens and adults.
“Business has increased basically double with the amount of people who have been advised to no longer use the tanning beds or stay outside so much in the sun,” Swingle said. “Prom, homecomings, the winter formals is what we just got finished with, so I see a big boost; prom is the busiest time for me, I’ll spray 20 to 30 people in a day.”
Oregon is not the first state to talk tanning bed restrictions. Vermont and California have similar tanning bed bans and 33 other states have issued some sort of restriction on indoor tanning.