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City Council Votes To Make Tanning Beds Off-Limits To Minors

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Tanning bed (CBS)

Tanning bed (CBS)

John Cody. John Cody
John Cody is a veteran reporter for Newsradio 780.
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Anyone under the age of 18 will soon be banned from getting into tanning beds at Chicago tanning salons.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports the City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting tanning salons from allowing minors to use tanning beds.

Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), who sponsored the measure, recounted the plight of 24-year-old Katrina Polansky, who told aldermen last week that she developed melanoma after using tanning salons several times a week since she was 15.

“She was awake for the surgery, as they cut open her face to remove the deadly cancer. She still remembers the sound and smell of her skin burning, and today has a scar that is over five centimeters long on her cheek,” Silverstein said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

Polansky told a council committee last week that kids younger than 18 absolutely should not be using tanning beds.

“I went tanning, just like all the other girls, and I never burned, so I thought it was okay,” she said. “I started tanning at the age of 15. My mother co-signed for me, which now is one of her biggest regrets. I’ll never forget the sound in her voice, or the tears she cried when I told her the news.”

Polansky said she used tanning beds five times a week or more, for 20 minutes at a time, for five years before she developed melanoma.

She said, given that minors aren’t legally allowed to buy cigarettes, get a tattoo, or make other adult decisions before the age of 18, they shouldn’t be allowed to use tanning beds either, since that can also be harmful to their health.

Only three aldermen voted against the ordinance.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) voted against the measure, saying, “I don’t believe the city needs to micromanage people’s lives. There’s a role for parents, and they need to parent.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel rejected suggestions the ordinance is over-reaching, saying parents are responsible to keep their children from smoking, but the state reinforces the idea with a ban on cigarettes.

Silverstein noted the ban does not apply to tanning sprays or bronzers, only tanning beds at tanning salons – and not tanning beds in private residences.

Violations would result in fines of $100 to $250 for each offense.

The ordinance takes effect 10 days after the City Council vote is officially published, generally by the next council meeting.

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