The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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Tanning bed usage banned for teens under 18

A new state law passed Aug. 15 has banned tanning bed use for anyone under age 18 starting Jan. 1, 2014, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Daniel Biss, ninth district state senator, voted to pass the law. According to Biss, the law is a reasonable improvement in public health.

“There is a very significant amount of evidence now that the long term health consequences of using tanning beds at a young age are really significant,” Biss said.

According to the Tribune, tanning in an indoor bed can raise the chances of having melanoma, the most fatal skin disease, by 75 percent. Tanning under the age of 25 doubles the risk. According to Ellie Foley, South Cure Club leader, teens use them to meet unreasonable standards in appearance regardless of risk.

“I think there’s a whole image that teenagers have to conform to and part of that image is being tan,” Foley said.

The South girls tennis team participated in the Long Grove Heritage 5K Run/Walk to raise money for melanoma and the organization Skin of Steel. Skin of Steel is an organization that supports research and aids those affected by melanoma. They wore Skin of Steel T-shirts and layered on sunscreen in support. According to Head Coach Kathryn Nicolotti, the new law is a huge step in the right direction.

“I think that it is really important for young women to embrace the skin that they’re in, […] and our standards of beauty [need to] shift,” Nicolotti said.

Despite the risks of skin cancer, some teens oppose the law. Freshman Sami Schneider acknowledges that tanning beds are dangerous, but believes that teens should be able to use them.

“I believe that it is their decision to make, even if it’s not a healthy one,” Schneider said.

According to Sachi Ishida, South alum and daughter of the founder of Skin of Steel, Susan Steel, education is the key to fighting melanoma. Ishida believes that educating people on the effects of tanning on their body will help prove that it is extremely dangerous.

“There’s enough research and evidence at this point to show that tanning beds directly correlate with melanoma,” Ishida said. “Being someone who has been directly affected by it, I would never want somebody to go through that.”

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