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Why tanning is being compared to smoking in Olympia

Senator King's bill would even prevent parents from giving their okay for kids under 18 from tanning. (AP Photo/Jonathan Hayward)

Teenagers hoping to get bronzed before the big dance or upcoming swim party will have to do it the old-fashioned way under a bill being heard Monday in Olympia. If passed, tanning would be illegal for those under 18.

After hearing from parents who lost children to skin cancer years after they let them hit the tanning salon, State Senator Curtis King decided it was time to step in. He’s proposing a bill that would prevent kids under the age of 18 from using tanning beds.

“We don’t allow people under the age of 18 to smoke,” Senator King said. “We do not allow young people to drink alcohol.”

Senator King believes tanning rises to that level because of what he’s heard from doctors, cancer-survivors and grieving parents. Senator King’s bill would even prevent parents from giving their okay for kids under 18 from tanning. “It just says ‘You can’t use it,'” he said. “It’s like saying ‘well a parent wants their 14-year-old son or daughter to smoke.’ They can’t do it.”

Violating this bill could cost tanning salons a $1,000. Tanners would have to present photo-ID in order to get in a tanning bed. California prevents kids under 18 from using tanning beds and 33 states already regulate the tanning industry. Washington does not. Our state also doesn’t license these shops. Senator King believes it’s time to start. “We need to do this to protect our young people.”

About the Author

Chris Sullivan

Chris Sullivan is a traffic reporter for KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He cares deeply about the amount of time you spend sitting in Seattle traffic. Email Chris at


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