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Cancer survivors want to ban tanning bed use for minors in Arizona

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PHOENIX — Cancer survivors in Arizona are asking lawmakers for a hearing on a bill that would prohibit minors from using tanning devices.

House Bill 2194, introduced by State Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, would ban anyone under the age of 18 from using “any equipment that emits radiation used for tanning of the skin” in Arizona.

Melanoma survivor Jennifer Barney was 16 years old when she first used a tanning bed, she told KTAR News 92.3 FM. Barney is joining other cancer survivors to push for the bill’s passage.

Barney and other supporters of the bill believe it would protect children from unnecessary exposure to harmful UV radiation.

“When you’re a teenager, you don’t think about the future ramifications to your health,” she said. “I certainly didn’t.”

Barney said tanning devices, such as tanning beds, are “deadly.”

“If you are under the age of 35 and you step foot into a tanning bed, you are 59 percent more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma,” she said.

“If we don’t allow kids under 18 to access cigarettes, why would we allow them to access a device that has the same cancer results?”

Advocates are attempting to advance the bill before this year’s legislative session ends.

“Anything we can do to safe a life is going to be key,” Barney said.

The bill needs to be added to the schedule for the Senate’s Commerce and Public Safety Committee in order for it to move forward.

KTAR News’ Griselda Zetino contributed to this report. 

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