Senate panel says children under 18 shouldn't tan

  • A ban on tanning bed use by people under age 18 passed an Illinois Senate committee on Tuesday, but still faces a full Senate vote.

    A ban on tanning bed use by people under age 18 passed an Illinois Senate committee on Tuesday, but still faces a full Senate vote. Associated Press

  • State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg of Evanston.

    State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg of Evanston.

 
 
Updated 3/29/2011 2:57 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Most high schoolers wouldn't be allowed to use tanning beds under legislation approved by a Senate committee Tuesday.

A panel voted 6-4 to ban children under 18 from using tanning beds, with supporters arguing that young people who start tanning early and often are especially susceptible to melanoma and other cancers caused by ultraviolet light.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We simply can't ignore the relationship between indoor tanning and cancer," said Jeff Schoenberg, an Evanston Democrat and sponsor of the legislation.

The plan now moves to the full Senate for further debate, where Schoenberg says he might have more work to do before he finds enough support to get it approved.

Opponents said parents can help their own children decide how much, if any, tanning is appropriate. And, argued Sen. Dave Syverson, a Rockford Republican, if tanning is dangerous for children, it's also dangerous for people 18 and older.

"Why do we cut it off at age 17?" he asked.

Currently, no one under 14 can use legally use a tanning salon. Children ages 14 to 17 can tan with a parent's permission.

All Democrats voted "yes," including Schoenberg, Sen. Michael Noland of Elgin and Sen. Susan Garrett of Lake Forest. All Republicans, including Sen. Carole Pankau of Roselle, voted against the ban.