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New Texas Law Restricts Teens from Indoor Tanning

A new Texas law took effect this month -- making it illegal to use a tanning bed if you're under the age of 18.
It used to be that if you were between the ages of 16 1/2 and 18, you could tan indoors with parental consent in Texas. A new state law took effect this month that now makes it illegal to use a tanning bed if you are under the age of 18 -- period. 

Michelle Kingston reports.

Slade Moffat owns Elite Physique, a tanning salon that offers both sunless spray tans and a type of tanning that is now illegal for anyone under the age of 18 -- tanning beds and booths with ultra-violet lights.

This new law went into effect on September 1 to prevent teens from getting skin cancer --  if you start tanning before the age of 18, research out of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston says your risk of getting melanoma increases by 85-percent.

"We really shouldn't be exposing children to ultra-violent light putting them at risk for the development of melanoma," Dr. Ross Alexander of West Texas Medical in San Angelo said.

Even with this new tanning law in effect, tanning beds and booths like this one, will still be used by tanners contributing to the $5 billion a year industry.

Clients under 18 can still use sunless self-tanning sprays and booths offered at salons. Because of this, and because most of Moffat's clients are over 18 anyway, she says she will not lose business because of this new law.

"It has no affect at all. I mean, we even pulled the numbers on how many people even tan at that age, and it was really insignificant," Moffat said. "I mean, really, we can probably count those tanners on one hand."

The majority of Moffat's clients are in college, working professionals, or mothers.

"They've done their research," she said. "They know the benefits, they know the risk of tanning, and that' the reason they come to an indoor tanning salon because of the controlled atmosphere."

Doctor Alexander says it may take some time before we see if the law helps reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Michelle Kingston, KLST News.

Texas is the fifth state in the country to impose a ban on indoor tanning for people under the age of 18.

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