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Cancer Group Doesn’t Think Tanning Bed Bill Goes Far Enough

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – A leading cancer advocacy group is calling for Colorado lawmakers to defeat a bill that would regulate indoor tanning beds. The group argues the measure doesn’t do enough to protect teens.

All involved agree they want to protect young people from the harmful effects of indoor tanning. The sponsors have a compromise, but the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says ban all artificial tanning for minors.

One melanoma survivor agrees. Angela Oberlin is a lover of all things outdoors. She’s a sun worshipper who was committed to maintaining a tan year round.

“I thought I looked good,” Oberlin said.

From age 16 to 25 she frequented indoor tanning salons.

“I was 16 years old, signed up, didn’t need any parents’ permission, didn’t even tell my parents,” she said.

For about four years she was a regular.

“Every day during the winter,” she said. “And some people I knew even went multiple times per day.”

In 2010 Oberlin was shocked to learn she had melanoma.

“I was lucky that it was Stage IB.”

Oberlin had surgery and is now a staunch supporter of keeping minors from indoor tanning. She’s aware of a proposed bill that would ban children under 15 from using commercial tanning beds and make teens 15 to 17 get written permission from their parents.

“It doesn’t go far enough to protect the youth,” Oberlin said.

“I agree,” said Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, who sponsors the bill.

Tochtrop also wants a tougher law, but an effort on Monday to amend the bill to ban all minors failed. Tochtrop is hoping to pass her law now and strengthen it later.

“This building (the Capitol) is compromise,” she said.

But when it comes to cancer, Oberlin has only concern.

“The UV radiation from an indoor tanning bed is five to 15 times greater than the sun,” she said. “Why allow children to be exposed to that?”

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