By CHRIS AGEE
A recent decision by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott once again brought tanning bed regulation into the public dialogue.
In a press release, Abbott explained his office’s opinion that an indoor tanning bed unlawfully claimed the devices promote health and can increase levels of Vitamin D in the body.
The AG office found Darque Tan, based in Houston, violated state law dictating how tanning salons are permitted to advertise – use of beds can darken skin but cannot claim any health benefits.
Some locals who work in the industry say restrictions have had a negative impact on business and feel the public is generally exposed to concerns related to tanning rather than its positive attributes.
An employee of Coco’s Tanning and Boutique explained doctors have suggested patients with ailments, such as psoriasis and arthritis, use tanning beds for possible relief.
A steady increase of legislation over the past decade, the employee reported, has negatively affected proprietors of tanning businesses.
Age limits have also crept up in recent years, according to the source, who explained state law previously allowed teens between 14 and 16 years of age to tan with the signature and accompaniment of a parent or guardian. Those between 16 and 18 required just the parental consent, the employee added.
Current state law, she said, prohibits anyone under the ageof 16-and-a-half from tanning.
Proposed House Bill 598, authored by John Zerwas, R-Richmond, would raise that threshold to 18.
Misty Taylor, owner of Emerald Lane Salon, said she agrees with requiring minors to obtain parental permission but does not feel the minimum age should be raised.
“With parent notification, I think they should leave it,” she said, explaining teens should be able to tan prior to prom and other formal events.
“In moderation, I think it’s OK,” she added.
The Coco’s staff member noted students have begun relying on spray tans or private tanning bed owners.
She explained government regulations apply only to businesses and cannot end abuses by unscrupulous proprietors or private citizens.
Her employer, and the industry in general, exists to provide an enjoyable experience, she added. As with anything else, she said, those using tanning beds should always remember to do so responsibly.