x
Breaking News
More () »

Should children be able to use tanning beds?

Illinois and several of Missouri's bordering states already have laws that keep teens from using tanning beds. But in Missouri, that's not the case.

ST. LOUIS – Should children be able to use tanning beds? That's the question Missouri lawmakers will have to answer in the next few weeks.

Illinois and several of Missouri’s bordering states already have laws that keep teens from using tanning beds. But in Missouri, that's not the case.

One woman who knows the dangers all too well said it's time to change that.

"As I was washing my face I noticed a mole on my right cheek starting to bleed which I knew immediately was not normal,” described Kim Hoenecke.

Three days later she went to the doctor. The diagnosis – melanoma.

“This much of my cheek was taken out and then sewn together into a straight line,” Hoenecke described of the surgery to remove the cancerous mole from her face.

Thankfully, she caught the melanoma quickly, but she said her recovery is ongoing.

“Even to this day, I'm not fully recovered,” Hoenecke explained. “Because I look in the mirror every day and I see parts of this scar every day,” she said.

As a young adult, Hoenecke went to tanning salons only a handful of times. She said no one told her about the dangers.

That is why dermatologists, like Dr. Rebecca Chibnall, an associate professor of dermatology at Washington University in St. Louis, is pushing legislation that would make people aware of the risks.

"Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer,” Chibnall explained. “And we know that if a person uses a tanning bed before the age of 35, it increases the risk of melanoma by 59%."

Current Missouri law lets minors use tanning beds, but their parents have to sign a waiver. But, Hoenecke said that is not good enough and that children will pay for it later in life.

“No, it doesn’t happen when you're a kid, it happens later on when you least expect it,” she said.

The American Suntanning Association is against the bill. Among its arguments, it said the bill would have unintended consequences, like teens using unsafe tanning beds in gyms or home basements, it would take away a parent right to decide whether or not their child gets a spray tan, and it would hurt businesses' bottom line.

The bill is currently in committee and will be put to a vote in the next few weeks.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out