Teen Tanning Debate Heats Up; Local Businesses See Impact - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Teen Tanning Debate Heats Up; Local Businesses See Impact

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     Tougher restrictions for teens using tanning beds. New laws are aimed at curbing cancer rates, but how is it impacting local businesses during a normally busy time of year? 

     The tanning bed debate is heating up across the country. Thirty three states already have some sort of tanning regulation.  Minors under age 18 are banned from indoor tanning in a half dozen states including Illinois where the law went into effect in January. Now, Iowa legislators are considering the same thing. Since tanning salons are often swamped in the Spring we checked in to see the affect on businesses on both sides of the river in the Quad Cities.

     Whether it's prom and other spring dances or just gearing up for summer, many young women in particular right now are flocking to lay under the lights to get a golden glow. Extreme Tanning in East Moline had quite a few clients under 18 before the restriction took effect in Illinois. Now owner Amy Moreno says, "I have noticed my evenings have been a lot slower. Usually students would come either after school or when they're done with practices."

     On one hand, now more adult customers are coming in with less of a wait. But teen customers may be going to Iowa where they can still use a bed, at least for now.

     "I feel like if they do one state they need to do every state," said Moreno.

     The salon has been fairly busy with teens opting to spray tan though, which is the sole service offered over at Flesh Tones in Bettendorf. That's where we met a mother bringing her 14-year old daughter for her second airbrush session. Though her mother tells us she herself used to use tanning beds.

     "It's not good for you, so having that in the back of your mind, is it worth it? At the time it was but I wouldn't want that for her," said Jessica Bergendahl.

     "A lot of skin cancer survivors have come in and switched over, also the younger girls trying to take care of themselves and men as well," said Flesh Tones owner Kear Lonergan.

     She already sees an influx of about three times as many clients during the Spring season and expects more growth if Iowa bans minors from the beds because teens will look for an alternative. Lonergan also thinks  a similar age restriction will reach every state at some point.

     The Iowa legislation would also require salons to hand out written warnings to customers about the dangers of tanning.


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