A bill to ban tanning by minors is headed to the House floor, though it’s far from finalized.
The measure would fine those in violation of the law $500 for the first occurrence and $1,000 for any other instances within a year. The second violation could mean a misdemeanor for violators.
The panel approved the bill, but sent it to the House amending order for changes. Alterations could increase tweaks to enforcement language, as well as changes to the fine amounts.
The measure is sponsored by Rep. John Rucshe, D-Lewiston, who worked with Blake Sampson, a former Idaho resident and University of Washington medical student, to develop the bill. Rusche and Sampson say teens are not informed enough to know tanning is actually harmful for them.
The duo also believe many people don’t know that excessive tanning leads to skin cancer, which they said is easily preventable.
The measure would also outlaw youth from using in-home personal tanning beds. “They should be outlawed as well,” Rusche said, though he noted laws to prevent underage drinking are rarely enforced in private dwellings.
Wayne Hoffman, head of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, testified against the measure, arguing the bill represents a huge government overreach into family matters. “At some level, parents need to be able to make these decisions,” Hoffman said. “Parents and families should still matter.”
The bill would exempt those minors with written prescriptions from doctors, but parents would not be able to sign a waiver to allow their kids to tan.
Boise dermatologist Jared Scott warned that overutilization of tanning beds is “risky behavior” that is an “epidemic.” He also warned that those who use tanning beds are 75 percent more likely than others to develop melanoma.
“This is something we feel very strongly about,” Scott said.
Rusche, in his concluding testimony, said the measure would do much to prevent type of behavior. “The upside of tanning is questionable,” Rusche said.
Note: IdahoReporter.com is published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation.