But we think lawmakers are getting it right on House Bill 1215.
Under the bill, sponsored by Rep. Cherilyn Peniston, D-Westminster, teens under 15 years of age would be barred from using tanning devices at salons without a doctor's prescription. Meanwhile, those 15 to 17 years old would need either a signed parental consent form or a prescription to use tanning booths and beds.
Those 18 and older would not be affected.
According to the American Cancer Society, indoor tanning use before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk by 75 percent, and using a tanning bed even once increases the risk for squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent.
The risk for these cancers is higher when the tanning bed use begins before age 25, the organization says.
The group also says that over the last 20 years, the number of teens and young adults who said they'd used tanning beds increased from 1 percent to 27 percent.
Meanwhile, a 2011 survey by the American Academy of Dermatology showed 86 percent of adolescents and young adults who tanned indoors said they knew tanning bed usage was associated with skin cancer.
The American Cancer Society and dermatologists wanted a complete ban on tanning before the age of 18, so the bill represents a compromise.
As the bill was being debated on the floor of the Colorado House on Tuesday, a few Republicans, like Rep. Steve Humphrey, R-Severance, argued many salons already require parental consent and that the bill was an overreach by government.
"This is very, very much a nanny-state bill," he said.
But we're inclined to agree with supporters of the bill, like Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock, who compared the legislation to laws that keep minors from buying cigarettes another cancer-related purchase.
We think the bill strikes a good balance between protecting minors and allowing parents to decide what's OK for their teenagers.
The Denver Post, March 28