New York State considers banning teens from tanning
The debate continues over whether or not New York should ban tanning for teens under the age of 18. Several health groups began urging New York lawmakers to approve the ban earlier this week. Our Melissa Kakareka spoke with those on both sides of the issue.
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- It's that time of year when many teens begin visiting tanning salons to prepare for proms and vacations. But the practice is coming under renewed scrutiny this week as several health groups urge New York lawmakers to ban tanning for teens under the age of 18.
"When youth are thinking about going to the prom, they think they look better, because c'mon, who doesn't want to look beautiful? But it's at that age that they are really not aware of what can happen to them," said Susan Moranda of the American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society says there's been a 72 percent increase in melanoma over the past decade.
Moranda said, "Younger women are the ones being more diagnosed and we know it's the younger women who are frequenting the tanning booths."
The suggestion of a ban has drawn mixed reaction. Some local tanning salons say they do take precautions with younger clients. They say they are being unfairly portrayed and only advocate tanning in moderation.
"‘The Jersey Shore’ giving it that kind of angle, that everyone who tans wants to look like that. There's a lot of health benefits you don't hear about, like vitamin D and its benefits," said Caitlin McNichols, owner of Tanfastic.
Meanwhile, tanning salons do see some teens choosing spray tanning as an alternative for prom season while other teens still feel tanning is a pre-prom tradition.
"I would be really sad for them if it were banned. They're excited to come in, they come in with their girlfriends. It's kind of a pastime, going to the salon," McNichols said.
Still, health officials say embracing their own skin color might be the best alternative for their health.