The debated heated up Tuesday as the Springfield City Council Committee of the Whole talked about restricting minors under the age 18 from using tanning beds at tanning salons, even with a parent’s permission.
Advocates and opponents agree that the science is clear—tanning can lead to cancer. Where they disagree is what the government should do about it.
Several aldermen said they don’t want to take freedoms away from parents. Proponents of the restrictions say parents are not free to harm their children.
Ward 10’s Tim Griffin, a cancer survivor, understands the science that prompted the ordinance but he doesn’t feel it’s the city’s job to interfere with a parents job of telling their children “no.”
Ward 1 Alderman Frank Edwards says that he’s done passing ordinances that take away freedoms and the issue of tanning is something that needs to be left in the hands of the parents.
Ward 4’s Frank Lesko disagrees. He says this ordinance provides parents with a tool to stand up to their kids who may be defiant and go tan regardless of what the parent says.
The debate for the tanning ordinance lasted almost an hour Tuesday with dermatologists, cancer survivors and also people who have lost loved ones to cancer taking part in the conversation.
Aldermen placed the tanning ordinance on the debate agenda for next week’s city council meeting.