Bill that would ban teen tanning passes Senate

SALEM, Ore. -- A bill that would ban children younger than 18 from using tanning beds passed the Senate on Monday.

The bill, which has already passed the Oregon House last month, passed by a vote of 17-11.

House Bill 2896 would prevent teenagers from patronizing tanning salons. As the bill currently stands, there would be an exception for 17-year-olds who have a physician's permission to use a tanning bed for medical purposes. They must provide documentation that a doctor has prescribed it.

The bill would require tanning salons to post notices alerting customers to the ban.

It's unclear what consequences tanning salons could face should they violate the proposal. The bill does not list any penalties.

Proponents have argued a ban is necessary to keep kids safe, especially in the state with the highest cancer rates in the country.

Dr. Brian Druker, director of the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, has said using tanning beds early in life can increase a child's cancer risk by 75 percent. He also says about 40 percent of children ages 16-18 currently use tanning beds.

He believes that number will drop significantly with passage of the bill.