Teen and state tanning rules debated

Teen and state tanning rules debated
By: Erica Byfield

METROPOLIS, Ill. - It's warming up outside and the jump in temperatures typically means an increase in the number of people looking to get a tan, especially teenagers.

But if some states have anything to do with it, those teens won't get every far with out a parent's "ok". 26 states, including some here in the heartland, have laws regulating how old you have to be to get under the bulbs. In Illinois the age is 14.

Lasha Sexton and Haleigh Ellis consider it a right of passage, you come of age and then you go tanning. "I tanned on and off for about a year I started when I was 15" said Ellis. "I tanned four months in a row and then I stopped and I started tanning like once every 2 weeks" said Sexton.

They'd also tell you, it was not that easy to do, first they had to convince mom and dad it's ok.
Both these girls were pretty much in the same boat, their parent's warned them about potential side effects, like skin cancer "she used to tan when she was younger and she said she didn't really want me to tan because she got lip cancer, she got a spot on her lip from tanning" said Sexton, then they agreed to allow them to tan. 
This is the type of conversation state leaders hoped would happen when they passed laws setting an age limit for tanning.
On the other hand, critics say this is another example of the government overreaching its bounds. 
Back in the salon, the owner Kyla Parker says one third of her business probably comes from teens.  Also as a parent herself it makes her more comfortable to know her daughter won't be able to tan without her permission "if it was my kid I would want to have some say in what she would be doing."
Each of our heartland states has different rules when it comes to teens and tanning.
First, Missouri there's actually nothing on the books about the issue.
In Kentucky and Tennessee, no one under the age of 14 can tan without a parent.
Lastly as we mentioned, in Illinois you have to be 14 or older and parent has to sign a waiver.