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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon House Votes To Make Teen Tanning Tougher

Alexandra Kocik
Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon teenagers could soon find it harder to get an artificial tan. The Oregon House Thursday approved a measure that would bar people under 18 from using a tanning salon, unless they get permission from a doctor.

GOP Representative Mark Johnson knew he was going against his party when he stood up to speak in favor of the bill.

"What's a good Republican like me doing meddling in a private sector industry like this for?"

But Johnson cited studies that show an overwhelming link between artificial tans and skin cancer, especially among people who get them when they’re young. In the end, he was one of just seven Republicans to vote with majority Democrats for the bill.

Some opponents said the measure would put small businesses at risk. And the GOP's Dennis Richardson — who has eight daughters — said a ban would only make getting a tan more desirable for the typical teen.

"If we as adults say 'No, no, no. No more tanning,' the teenagers will say 'okay, right.'"

The Centers for Disease Control says more than one in five teenage girls get artificial tans. The measure now heads to the Oregon Senate.

Washington lawmakers considered a similar ban this year, but it didn’t pass.

On the Web:

HB 2896: Artificial tanning restriction  - Oregon Legislature