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Hawaii committee: No more tanning beds for teens

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A key Senate committee in the Hawaii Legislature approved a bill Tuesday that bans minors from using tanning beds.

Dermatologists urged lawmakers to limit use of the beds, saying that they have been linked to cancer. One Honolulu dermatologist, Kory Kitagawa, said she diagnoses skin cancer every working day, and that she’s seen the development of skin cancer in young people who have extensive exposure to tanning beds.

The Cancer Action Network says melanoma is the most common form of cancer in the country, and the second-most common form among 15- to 29-year-olds.

Opponents say tanning beds are safer than pure sunshine, and that soaking in the sun is more dangerous because it can lead to burns and because you can’t regulate weather. They say if teenagers want something bad enough, they get it.

California, Illinois, Oregon, Nevada, Vermont and Texas have similar bans in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some other states restrict tanning or require parental permission among younger teens.

The Senate Ways and Means committee approved the bill (HB 611) by a voice vote. The measure’s next stop is the Senate floor.

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