Tanning bed restrictions move forward in Kansas, Missouri

Teens may have to rely on sun to tan

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Getting under a tanning bed could be as restricted as buying a pack of cigarettes for teens in Missouri and Kansas if a bill restricting minors from indoor tanning passes in each state.

“I think it should be the parents’ choice until they’re 18,” Christa Stillions said. “When they’re 18 they can do what they want."

Christa Stillions tans, but if her 13-year-old asked to, it would be a different scenario.

“I’d probably tell him no,” she said.

Two bills in Missouri and Kansas could make that choice for her.

In Missouri, anyone under 17 would need parent's permission to use a tanning be. In Kansas, teens under 18 would be banned.

“That's a decision that I think as a parent we ought to be making,” Howard Terry said, who owns Electric Sun Tanning in Lenexa and Gardner.

Howard terry has a 16-year-old daughter who he lets tan with moderation.

No one under 16 can tan in his salons without parental consent, but he said that’s his choice, not lawmakers.

“When do you go to the swimming pool or when do you go to the lake and tell your family, ‘No, I’m sorry you can’t come,’ or, ‘You’ve been here long enough?’" he said.

David Feileke is a father and dermatologist with a different opinion.

“I do think it’s a step in the right direction because hopefully a lot more parents will get more involved and will get more educated about the risks involved,” he said.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 28 million people use tanning beds each year; more than two million are teens.

Stililons said her teen won't be one of them.

“They’re going to get exposed to harmful rays their whole life,” she said, “I don’t think they necessarily need to get a jump start on that."

Both bills move on to the Senate for a vote. 

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