A local business owner said she is about to feel the heat from lost revenue thanks to new tanning legislation passed in Texas recently.
Yvonne Lawrence, owner of Beyond Paradise Tanning, estimates a huge hit to her business’s bottom line will take place during the upcoming tanning season, which begins in February.
Due to changes made by state legislators, those under 18 may no longer use tanning beds to achieve a golden tan before putting on a bikini this year. The previous age limit was 16 ½.
According to the Texas Dermatological Society website, testimony that indoor tanning before the age of 18 increases the risk of melanoma by 85 percent was given during Texas House and Senate committee meetings
“For spring break I’m sure (the loss) is going to be substantial,” she said. “I’ve had to turn away two teenagers so far who used to tan with me. A lot of them probably don’t know about the legislative changes that took place Sept. 1.”
According to Lawrence’s calculations, her business is set to lose more than $1,500 in February during the spring break rush. That estimate does not include patronage from teens for prom, homecoming or other special school events.
“I want to say 25 percent of last year’s spring break bunch was under 18,” Lawrence said. “I don’t know how many that used to tan with me will have to be turned away. Right now it’s hard to say.”
Beyond Paradise Tanning will try to offer alternatives to the younger demographic.
“A few of my younger bunches who can’t tan anymore, I’ve advised them of the sunless solution, which is a spray tan,” she said. “They usually last around 5-7 days.”
Sydney Salquist, 17, said she felt the change in age requirement takes away the rights of her fellow teens. She believes the only difference between 16 1/2 and 18 is that individuals become legal adults at 18.
“I think by changing the age, you are taking away somebody’s right to feel good about herself,” she said. “People tan to make themselves look good. Given with your parent’s permission, it should be OK.”
Texas is one of 33 states to regulate the use of tanning beds by minors, and the fifth state to prohibit minors from using indoor tanning facilities.