New law shuts lid on teens tanning

By Mary Katherine Murphy - [email protected]

LAURINBURG —A new restriction on tanning beds that could affect local businesses is one of 50 new state law that took effect last week.

Earlier this year, legislators voted overwhelmingly in favor of a ban on the use of tanning beds by anyone under the age of 18. Formerly, those under age 18 could only use a tanning bed with parental consent, and those under 13 needed a physician’s prescription.

The new legislation, titled the “Jim Fulghum Teen Skin Cancer Prevention Act,” prohibits tanning bed owners and operators from using claims in business promotion that tanning equipment is safe or beneficial. The new law took effect Oct. 1.

Tammy Pleasant of Hot Tops on McColl Road in Laurinburg is unsure to what degree her business will be affected by the diminished customer base. She said that she has always discouraged those under the age of 16 from using tanning beds.

“Probably once prom rolls around is really where I’m going to notice the biggest hit,” she said.

Pleasant surmised that many people whose health is negatively affected by the use of tanning beds overuse them, sometimes patronizing multiple businesses at once.

“If people would use them as recommended they wouldn’t have a problem,” she said. “Most of the problems come when people go to more than one place or use them too often.”

At downtown salon Scissor’s Palace, Lisa Little said that they do have a handful of teenage customers whose parents signed for them to tan.

“I don’t really know that it’s going to affect us that much,” she said. “I know a lot of the kids want to tan, but they’ll probably go to spray tans and stuff like that.”

Tara Branch-Radford, proprietor of Tara’s Styles and Tanning on Cronly Street, said that determined teens can achieve the same effects — both positive and negative — with hours of sun exposure. Branch-Radford also predicted that her business will miss its usual spring influx of prom- and spring break-bound teens.

“Prom time is my busiest time for 11th and 12th graders because they all want that tan. During the busy months it was probably about 30 percent of my tanning business.”

Other new laws to go into effect last week include:

— An expansion of the minimum wait for women seeking an abortion from 24 hours to 72, with an exception for medical emergencies.

— An extension of the limited driving privileges available to those who have had their license revoked due to impaired driving or traffic convictions to include travel to attend church as well as to and from work, college, or emergency medical care.

— Addition of garbage and recycling trucks to the list of vehicles, such as police cruisers and ambulances, that motorists must change lanes or slow down to accommodate when their lights are flashing.

— New rules for foster children that remove burdens preventing them from attending sleepovers and attending school dances, and that permit teenagers in state custody to purchase car insurance.

— An act to provide that a permanent civil no-contact order may be issued against a sex offender on behalf of the victim of crimes for which the subject has been convicted.

— An act providing expanded access to experimental drugs and therapies to terminally ill patients.

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.

By Mary Katherine Murphy

[email protected]

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