Legislation Could Make Tanning Beds Off Limits to Some Minors

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - Like the latest book she's reading, Jessica Fabry says she used to be the girl who played with fire.  From age 16 to 27, she visited tanning salons.

"I'm kind of a tannerexic," a name Jessica, 28, coined for herself.  "It was nice to tan everyday.  It just feels good.  You look good when you're done."

What Jessica didn't calculate was the cost of her killer tan.  It's been a year since Jessica was diagnosed with melanoma - the deadliest kind of skin cancer.  She had the cancerous moles removed.  While she's cancer free, she's left with several scars on her back.  Her dermatologist linked it to her years of tanning.

"It's scary," said Jessica.  "It takes your breath away - like, my gosh I have cancer.  Now when I fill out any paperwork with insurance or a doctors visit, [I think], 'I've never had to check the cancer box before, but now I do.'  You just don't ever think it'll happen to you."

That's why Jessica testified on behalf of Rep. Gary Cross, a House of Representatives Republican. He is proposing a bill that would require all minors to have parental permission before they used tanning beds.

"I can tell you I know what it's like to get that phone call that tells you you have cancer," said the Representative.  "To have your daughter go through the same process - can be very devastating."

His daughter, who used tanning beds during her teens and early 20s, recently had several pre-cancer moles removed.  He hopes to prevent any other parent from going through that.

"We want to educate individuals. We want to help them make the best possible decision.  We're not here to put tanning beds out of business," said Cross.

The bill still has to pass the House and Senate before Governor Jay Nixon could decide if it should be law.

Either way, Cross and Jessica say their goal isn't to take away personal rights,
but to save young lives.

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