AZ legislature to hear bill that would ban minors from using tanning beds

AZ legislature to hear bill that would ban minors from using tanning beds
Source: Brittany Conklin

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A striker bill, written by Representative Heather Carter and backed by the American Cancer Society, will be heard by the state legislature's Health Committee in Phoenix on Thursday, March 22.

The language from the original Senate bill, the "striker bill," will be stricken and replaced with language from a bill that previously passed in the house: House Bill 2084, which aims to prevent minors from using tanning beds.

For the American Cancer Society, their reason to push this bill is simple: minors using tanning beds can drastically increase their risk of skin cancer.

"The effects of ultraviolet exposure are cumulative, meaning the earlier someone starts tanning the more likely they are to develop a potentially deadly skin cancer," the American Cancer Society says.

According to the American Cancer Society, people who use tanning devices before reaching age 35 increase their risk for developing melanoma 59 percent. Five skin cancer survivors from Arizona will speak to the Health Committee. One of whom says she had an addiction to tanning beds when she was a minor. She had skin cancer twice before age 30.

"I was, like, chasing that fix. Because you always felt like you were having so much fun in the summertime, like laying out by the pool. And so in the winter I chased that fix by going indoor tanning," Brittany Conklin said.

Conklin says that as someone who grew up in Arizona she loves the desert sun. That evolved into loving being tan.

She says her friends started to use tanning booths so she figured she would give them a try and then she became addicted. Now Conklin hopes to stop young people from making the same mistake she did.

"It's so critical to protect our youth now before the age of 18 from using these tanning beds because you don't get like a burn from these tanning beds and then two weeks later a month later get skin cancer. It's 5 years down the road," Conklin said.

Conklin is one of the five skin cancer survivors who are speaking at the state capitol on Thursday. After suffering from basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma she hopes to see the bill pass. And if it does, Arizona will join 15 other states who have similar laws.

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