Following the uproar over allegations that "Tanning Mom" Patricia Krentcil brought her 6-year-old daughter into a tanning booth, it was only a matter of a time before the issue inspired legislation. Sure enough, Chicago's City Council on Wednesday voted to ban minors from using tanning salons.
Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) sponsored the "Tanning Mom"-inspired ban, which bars anyone under the age of 18 from utilizing tanning beds or booths "regardless of whether the person has the permission of a parent or guardian," the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The ordinance does not impact the use of either spray-on tans or bronzers.
Silverstein described her ordinance as "life-saving." Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed.
"We have restrictions as it relates to teenagers on smoking," Emanuel said in a press conference following the vote, according to the Chicago Tribune. "This ordinance on tanning reflects a strategy as it relates to protecting our teenagers, as they have to make decisions."
The ordinance will go into effect in 10 days, after which Chicago tanning salons allowing teens to "fake bake" will be fined up to $250. As the Associated Press reports, the ban will not cover tanning beds used in private residences.
Tanning customers previously were required to be at least 14 years old and have parental permission under Chicago law. While California and Vermont have instituted similar, statewide bans, Chicago is the first U.S. city to ban minors from using tanning beds and booths, according to NBC Chicago.
Only three of the city's 50 alderman voted against the ordinance, including Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) who said "I don't need government to tell me" what to do when it comes to the matter of whether his children should be able to use a tanning salon's services, the Sun-Times reports.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association applauded the ban as "critical to preventing skin cancer."
"Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, with the most rapid increases occurring among young, white women, the most common users of indoor tanning beds," Dr. Daniel M. Siegel, the association's president, said in a statement. "Prohibiting minors' access to indoor tanning stops this behavior before it can become a habit that continues into adulthood."