Big changes could be coming to Michigan indoor tanning users. Doctors with the Michigan State Medical Society joined young cancer patients in asking the state Legislature to approve bills that would ban minors from using indoor tanning facilities.
Since 2008, Michigan law has required that parental consent be given before kids under 18 can use indoor tanning salons.
The bills, House Bills 4404 and 4405, would prohibit minors, especially girls, from using tanning beds.
Dermatologists like Dr. Raymond Dean of Associates of Dermatology in Traverse City, are not fans of tanning salons because of the potential risks they pose when it comes to cancer.
"I don't think that a teenager under the age of 18 should be going into an indoor tanning bed. In fact, I don't think that any age should be going into tanning beds," said Dean.
"Indoor tanning has been directly linked with a dramatically increased risk of skin cancers especially for girls who start tanning at a young age," said Kay Watnick, M.D. an Oakland County dermatologist.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who begin tanning indoors at a young age have a 75-percent higher risk of being diagnosed with melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer and the number one cancer killer of young woman nationwide.
Thirteen percent of high school students admit to using indoor tanning salons, and thirty-two percent of girls in the 12th grade say they use tanning beds, the Michigan State Medical Society says.
Local tanning salon owner and licensed practical nurse, Anna Kelley, said that only about five percent of her customers are under the age of 18 and that she supports the parent's decision to let their child indoor tan.
"When the parents bring their kids in, like I said, they want they kids to have some kind of color before they're going to Jamaica, Mexico, places that are really really hot and that can burn them," said Kelley, of Mocha Tan Tropics.
"We cannot turn a blind eye while our daughters and sons, nieces and nephews, and friends are put at such a terrifying risk of cancer," said Representative Townsend, D-Royal Oak. "The CDC, Michigan physicians and cancer patients themselves have sounded the alarm about the deadly risks of indoor tanning. It is time we listen and put the lives of our young people first."
If you would like more information on skin cancer from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.