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States to Ban Teens from Tanning Salons?

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on July 05, 2011 6:47 AM

State lawmakers across the United States are thinking about implementing a new teen tanning ban.

California in particular is contemplating a new ban that would ban teens under the age of 18 from tanning beds, reports the AP. A ban for teens under the age of 14 is already in place, but teens between the ages of 14 and 18 can still go under the lights if they get parental approval.

State Senator Ted Lieu is pushing for the legislation. He claims that many parental permission forms furnished by teens to tanning salon staff are actually forged, according to the AP.

The FDA has warned against using tanning beds. Tanning beds can cause skin cancer, burns, and premature aging - and it can be bad for the skin in the long run. The FDA says around 30 million people visit tanning salons each year. 2.3 million are teenagers, reports the AP.

California is not the only state to be thinking about implementing new restrictions on tanning beds. 22 states have at the least considered putting new restrictions in place. New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are currently contemplating similar legislation.

However, supporters of tanning beds say that tanning beds are regulated by the FDA and are controlled. Tanning sessions are usually precisely timed, and customers get a specific amount of exposure to UV rays.

Can there be products liability for tanning beds? Even if there is no ban in place, it's possible tanning beds could one day be considered an unavoidably unsafe product. Unlike most product defect cases, unavoidably unsafe products are those that are not safe, even if it is manufactured perfectly and there is no design defect - the very nature of the product is that there is risk in using it. A classic example of unavoidably unsafe products is prescription drugs.

While tanning beds are not exactly the same as a prescription drugs, the risks in using a tanning bed are real. Tanning naturally and in tanning beds causes a higher risk for developing skin cancer, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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