Don’t Let Teens Use Tanning Beds in Illinois

Target: Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois

Goal: Prohibit minors from using tanning beds in salons

Tanning might still be popular among teens across the United States, but the beauty habit can be deadly. Even though using tanning beds triples the risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, it’s still legal for young teens to visit tanning salons across Illinois. Chicago recently banned teens from tanning beds, fining salons up to $250 for accepting minors as patrons. It’s time to enact a similar ban across the state. Urge the governor of Illinois to push for legislation protecting minors from the dangers of tanning.

In addition to tanning the skin, ultraviolet radiation from sun lamps and sun beds mutates DNA, reduces immune system function, and can cause cancer. The U.S. Public Health Service affirms that UV radiation is a known carcinogen, while new data from the Food and Drug Administration indicates that tanning in tanning beds is as dangerous as smoking when it comes to the risk of developing cancer.

While children under 14 are prohibited from using tanning beds in Illinois, teens aged 14 to 17 can patronize tanning salons with parental permission. But an activity as risky as smoking shouldn’t be made available to young people, even with the permission of their parents. Urge Illinois to ban minor use of tanning beds altogether.


Dear Governor Pat Quinn,

The Food and Drug Administration recently classified tanning with the use of tanning beds as an activity in the highest cancer risk group along with smoking tobacco. Yet outside of Chicago, tanning remains legal for minors in Illinois.

Tanning beds emit 12 times more UVA radiation than the sun itself. Exposure to this kind of radiation mutates DNA, wrinkles the skin, and triples the risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer. UV radiation is a known human carcinogen, so why do we allow teens to expose themselves to it, even with their parents’ permission?

No retailer would sell cigarettes to a minor even with written permission from a parent. Similarly, no tanning salon should be able to accept business from someone too young to make informed health decisions. Despite its known risks, tanning remains a fad among young girls. Allowing them to endanger their health legally is simply unconscionable.

I urge you to follow Chicago’s example and protect minors from the real dangers of tanning. Enforce a ban on minors in tanning salons, and fine all establishments that defy it.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Lindsey Turner via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. J Davidson says:

    Hard to understand why anybody would want to use this harmful procedure.

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