The House Health & Welfare Committee is meeting at the unaccustomed hour of 7 a.m. today for its hearing on HB 268, to ban minors under age 16 from using commercial tanning beds, and require parental consent for those age 16 and 17. “This is just the first of two rodeos today,” Chairman Fred Wood, R-Burley, told the committee. “The second one starts at 9:30 upstairs.” That’s when the House convenes to begin its debate on the state health insurance exchange legislation. Wood said his plan is to finish his committee hearing this morning by 9:15.
Ken McClure, lobbyist for the Idaho Medical Association, told the panel, “It’s not lightly we bring before you a piece of legislation that would restrict people’s rights to do something which is legal. There comes a time, however, when science teaches us that some things that were thought to be benign are not benign, they are malignant.” He said if he’d been here 40 years ago telling lawmakers that youth smoking should be outlawed, “You would have heard people say, ‘That’s silly.’ … Unfortunately as science became more clear, it became indisputable that tobacco does cause cancer.”
So do the use of artificial tanning devices, McClure said. “It’s a particular risk factor for those who begin to use them at a young age.” The science is clear, he said, “that these devices do ultimately lead to melanomas, carcinomas and other types of cancers that kill people.” Said McClure, “There exist other ways to have the beautiful glow that don’t cause cancer in young people.”
Similar legislation passed the House last year after much debate, but died in a Senate committee.