CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - Teenagers in Iowa may soon not be able to get tan for prom, or any other time of the year. Lawmakers have introduced bills to make it against the law for minors to use tanning beds. Opponents say a ban could put salons out of business.
Marissa Leibold has been using tanning beds since she was a teenager. Now she works full-time at Elite Tan & Nails, a Cedar Rapids salon.
"It releases a lot of endorphins in your brain that causes the happy reaction," said Leibold. "It also increases the melanin production which increases the Vitamin D production in your skin, and I think looking tan and healthy makes you feel better about yourself."
High schoolers bring big business to the salon which even has a student special. Kids as young as 14 can tan as long as they have a parent's permission. 16 and 17 year olds are allowed to sign in themselves, but the high schoolers might not be able to tan for much longer. The Iowa legislature is looking at creating a new law that would ban minors from using tanning beds.
Workers at Elite Tan & Nails say they would lose about a third of their business if a teen tan ban went through.
"It is really going to hurt the business...especially homecoming, prom season, that's going to really affect it," said Leibold.
Leibold feels a ban isn't necessary because the Iowa Department of Public Health sets restrictions to keep tanners safe.
"As long as you follow that, I think that's the best way to do it," said Leibold. "You don't overexpose yourself. You don't risk the sunburn which causes the bad reactions to it. As long as it's a safe tan and you keep to those IDPH regulations, I think that's the perfect thing to do."
By state law, tanning salons have to keep detailed records to make sure customers don't tan too often. Most tanning bed manufacturers recommend at least 48 hours between sessions.
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