Our readers - in response to our invitation - offered their thoughts on proposed legislation to restrict access to commercial tanning beds.
One bill would require in-person, parental permission for youths younger than age 17; another would ban anyone younger than age 6.
We characterized the issue as an example of public health concern versus government overreach.
Here are excerpts from some responses (hand-delivered, e-mailed, on Facebook and our website, identified only by user names):
Donna Regen: I don't think either of these (proposals) is strong enough. A bill protecting all minors under 18 would have been better. The under 6 one is a joke and makes a mockery of a very serious problem. There is no good reason for anyone (particularly our children) to use a tanning bed. Contrary to what the indoor tanning industry wants you to believe, there is no such thing as a healthy tan - and the consequences can be deadly. My daughter Jaime was an avid user of tanning beds in high school and college and then diagnosed with melanoma at age 20. She fought hard for nine years but the melanoma won. She would tell you if she could that no tan is worth dying for!
Beverly A. Shelton: Stay out of the tanning beds for your own safety and concerns for future health problems that might arise. This is good warning for not only the young people but those who are young at heart. These can be really dangerous. And fair warning for those who enjoy sunbathing and other means of trying to obtain a tan from the sun. Just remember that the sun can show no mercy. Don't misjudge Mother Nature in all her outdoor forms. You will be that much wiser and safer. Have the foresight to be responsible for your own actions.
Bobbi Meyer: The more laws government makes, the less common sense people have. It seems the ability to think for oneself has disappeared.
Lynda Isgrig Cardwell: This is the parents' job, and it should remain with them. Doesn't the House have bigger issues to deal with?
Mary M. Rode Wood: Life insurance applications have questions such as: "Do you engage in flying experamental airplanes?" or "Do you engage in skydiving?" and if you do they may either rate you up or even deny your application. Perhaps the same system should be applied to health insurance applications for applicants age 8 (10, 12, whatever) and older: "Do you engage in sunbathing or use tanning booths?" and if you do they might either deny coverage or put an excluding rider on the policy for melanoma or other skin cancers related to sun damage.
Adam Schneider: Another waste of our tax dollars is all this is!
Kari Jacques: I think monitoring kids tanning is a parent's responsibility and monitoring ours is our decision as adults. It's a waste of tax money to regulate something like this.
paleskinner: You (News Tribune) are opposed to this child protection/cancer reduction effort, not for practical reasons, but philosophical? Did you take the time to review the Senate report? Parental consent does not reduce youth tanners. It is you that lacks common sense News Tribune, not the parents whose children have been lied to and exploited for a buck. Banning minors sends a clear message to all citizens that UV radiation is a recognized carcinogen - it encourages responsible sun exposure.
Question: How can you rationally expect the public to pay attention to important UV warning messages while governments permit school children to use indoor tanning beds - some of which are reportedly up to 15 times hotter than the sun?
shelly75ngml: This should absolutely be the parent's decision and the government has no place in it. As the mother of a son with terrible acne, I have found that tanning beds are an efficient and affordable way to help my son's skin clear up. The assumption that the only reason a youth would want to use a tanning bed is to get a tan is flat out wrong. There are plenty of other reasons, such as my son's, there are other skin conditions that can be helped with UV exposure such as psoriasis, and eczema. If a family is about to go on a vacation to a sunny location they may chose to visit a salon to acquire a base tan to minimize the risk of sunburn. Let's be clear, sunburn is the factor that increases the risk of skin cancer, not a tan.