Bill in Oregon would require doctor's note for teens who want to use tanning beds

MEDFORD, Ore. - Oregon is ranked fourth in the nation when it comes to skin cancer deaths.

Medical researchers believe that's because so many people use tanning beds.

Now state lawmakers are proposing a bill that could change tanning bed requirements.

Anyone younger than 18 would need a doctor's note to tan.

For Mark Themins, who owns Jan's Tans in Medford, it's safe to say this new bill is a sore subject.

"It should be up to the parent's decision to say if their kids can come in and tan or not," Themins said.

House bill 2896 would make it the doctor's decision, requiring a note of recommendation to use the tanning booth.

At this point, Themin says a small part of the clientele at Jan's Tans already uses the booth for medical reasons.

"For psoriasis and other medical stuff like that," Themins explains. "Doctors actually send them in here to do it to help them out."

Dr. John Jackson is not one of those doctors.

"I don't think that there's a compelling reason why recommending tanning would be something that most physicians would support," Jackson said.

He says if you plan to live into your 80s, you'll want to protect your skin.

"I talked to a patient earlier today who talked about lying on the beach as a teenager, he's now 83 with lots of skin cancer," Jackson said. "And i said ‘I bet you didn't think you were going to live this long. Well you have and now you're paying the price.'"

To avoid a similar outcome it seems some women are switching to spray tanning.

Business has increased, basically double with the amount of people who have been advised to no longer use the tanning beds or stay outside so much in the sun.

Heather Swingle says her spray tanning business is soaring among adults and teenagers.

"Prom time is one of my busiest times," Swingle said. "I'll spray 20-30 people in a day."

Oregon is not the first state to talk tanning bed restrictions. Vermont and California have similar tanning bed bans.

And 33 other states have issued some sort of restriction on indoor tanning.