- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - An industry representative said Thursday that a proposal to require minors to get parental consent to use tanning salons isn’t necessary because it’s largely already standard practice in the state.

The House Health and Human Services Committee voted 8-5 on Thursday for the measure, which was pared down in the committee from an earlier proposal that would have banned minors from using a tanning facility at all.

Year Round Brown Vice President Zach Neugebauer said in an interview that most tanning businesses, including Year Round Brown’s chain of salons, already require parental consent for minors in South Dakota. He said the company changed the requirement for a parent’s permission from 16 up to 18 several years ago.

The American Cancer Society argues that tanning leads to a higher risk of skin cancer. Republican Rep. Lana Greenfield of Doland said she thought the proposal interferes with small businesses and should be shot down.

“It’s ridiculous for us to try to control this any further,” Greenfield said. “They’re professionals in the field.”

Year Round Brown has seven locations in South Dakota, including five in Sioux Falls. Neugebauer said he doesn’t think it’s necessary to have a provision in law if the industry is already self-enforcing the parental consent requirement.

“Why create a law on the books when you already have people doing the stuff anyways?” he said, adding that the opponents overhype the dangers of tanning.

But, David Benson, South Dakota government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said evidence shows that parental consent requirements don’t help limit the use of tanning beds.

Benson said younger people’s skin is much more delicate than adult skin and that restrictions on tanning are necessary to protect South Dakota youth from the risk of skin cancer.

“That message is not getting out there, whether it’s to teens or parents,” Benson said. “South Dakota needs to take tanning seriously and parental consent is not the way to do that.”

The measure moves to the full state House of Representatives for consideration.

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