New tanning bed law pleases parents

Gov. Jay Nixon signed a bill Thursday requiring anyone under 17 to get written parental consent to use a tanning bed.

Residents say they like a new state law dealing with the use of tanning beds by children under 17.

On Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law a bill that requires anyone under the age of 17 to get written permission from their parent or guardian in order to use a tanning bed. The parent would have to sign a consent form at the tanning facility. If their child tans regularly, they would have to sign the form again every year.

Columbia residents said they were glad to hear about the new law. Jennifer Briner said she does not let her children use tanning beds but she thinks the new law is thoughtful.

"Sixteen, 17 years old, I think that kids can go do that, but I don't mind signing something that would allow them to do that," she said.

Michelle Rodriguez said it makes sense to require parents to sign off on tanning bed use since they would end up paying the child's medical bills if they develop skin cancer.

"If they were older, I would say, 'More power to them,' but as long as they are under their parents' roof, and the parents have to pay the bill, then I think they need to report it to them."

The move makes Missouri one of the most recent states to adopt some kind of tanning bed restriction for minors. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 states and the District of Columbia have restrictions either on the books or pending. Eight states bar anyone under 18 from using tanning beds at all. The CDC reports people under 35 who are frequently exposed to ultraviolet rays are 75 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma killed nearly 9200 Americans in 2012, according to the American Cancer Society.

At least one tanning salon owner likes the new law as well. Shelley Trube, who owns Perfect Image in Wardsville, said her salon already requires anyone under 17 to be accompanied by a parent. That parent needs to sign a consent form much like the one required under the new state law. Trube said more and more of her clients are opting for spray tans because of cancer concerns over tanning beds.

"I'm happy they're doing it. This way kids know, don't try to come do it unless you've got a parent with you," she said, adding she thought it was "a perfect law."

The new law takes effect August 28.