Proposal would impose statewide teen tan ban
Prom season means tanning season for area teens who think the tone of their skin is as important as the color of their dress, flowers and fingernails.
But a new bill that could wind its way to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk would make this the last prom season to tan at a salon for those younger than 18.
“Oh my God! I would cry. I would be very upset,” Valentina Manns, 16, of Frankfort said as she came in recently for a tanning session at Heatwaves in Frankfort. Like many teens, she likes to tan before a dance or to get ready for summer.
“This will be devastating to a lot of young girls,” Heatwaves owner Shearin Juris said.
Teen tanners and salon owners said such a ban interferes with parental and individual rights, and it’s no worse than sunning at the beach. They agree there should be some restrictions — and quickly point out that rules already exist.
Chicago and Springfield ban tanning at a salon for anyone under 18. Elsewhere in the state, such tanning is allowed only for those 14 to 18 with a parental signature, and it can be no more than once every 24 hours and for no longer than 10 to 15 minutes.
Identical proposals in the state House and Senate would expand that ban throughout the state. Each measure has cleared its respective chamber and is headed for the other.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), the measure’s sponsor, said she’s “confident” the plan will become law, making the ban effective Jan. 1.
“The weight of the evidence that ultraviolet tanning is very, very bad for you is everywhere ,” said Radogno, who admitted that she tanned “once or twice” when she was “well over 18.” She also said her three daughters tanned when they were underage, although she discouraged it.
“A lot of moms grew up tanning. It’s still an education process,” Radogno said.
Manns said her mother tried to scare her by showing her a video on the possible dangers of ultraviolet tanning beds, but that didn’t stop her.
“I have to pay for it, but she was willing to sign for it,” Manns said. “I think about (the negative effects), but I’m not worried about it.”
Another Heatwaves customer, Randi Slager, 17, of Frankfort, said skin disease runs in her family, so she was “never a fan of tanning.”
“But prom season is around the corner. I felt I needed a tan,” she said, saying it will make her “look prettier” in her ice-blue prom gown. Radogno said her bill would not hurt the tanning business because owners could make up the difference with spray tanning.
Katie Hafer, owner of Spray of Sunshine in Mokena, which specializes in sunless tanning, said, “People are getting smarter about tanning and would rather pay for a spray tan. It’s faster. It’s safer.
“I see young people coming in with scars and cancer. It blows my mind. It’s scary,” Hafer said.