New Laws Heating Up for West Virginia Tanning Salons


BERKELEY COUNTY, WV- In West Virginia things are heating up for tanning salons. With summertime you may have a tan now but if you plan on keeping that tan this winter by visiting a tanning salon in West Virginia there are some new rules to follow.

This is the first statewide legislation of its kind and it affects who can tan and what health departments can do to enforce these rules.

For minors ages 15 to 18, a photo ID, a signed consent form by a parent and a copy of their parent's photo ID are all required before tanning. And for those 14 and under tanning is banned completely.

"This is the first bill that actually says this is what's required and this is the entity that's responsible for making sure that that happens," said Jennifer Beamer Hutson, Berkeley County Health Department.

Health officials say they won't be doing inspections unless they need to.

"Then if we get reports that tanning bed owners aren't following the regulations, we are authorized to go in and inspect, at that point we'll start with educating them," said Hutson. "But it is a misdemeanor if people aren't following these regulations."

Salons failing to comply face misdemeanor charges and fines starting from $100 to as much as $1000.

"I hope they don't get any stricter, the original bill that was put to West Virginia was no one under 18 tanning in salons and of course, large fines and jail time for the tanning salon owner," said Judith Wright, owner of Indian Sun and Silver Tanning Salon. "I think that was going way overboard.:

Under these new regulations all West Virginia tanning salons are required to have their clients sign these consent forms no matter how old they are saying they understand the risks of indoor tanning.

But for health advocates this is just a start. 

"We feel we have a responsibility to really educate the public and educate those moms out there who really want to say no you can't tan and to give them a reason why," said George Blough, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Salon owners also hope these rules improve tanning standards.

"Also tanning salon step up and think about those issues," said Wright. "I think in this business we need to be concerned about skin care, we need to be concerned sanitation issues so hopefully that will help some of our salons set up in that."

Blough hopes they can revisit this issue in the future. "I think underage tanning is one thing we can change that we can save lives with and to me that's important we don't want to see our kids dying for a tan," said Blough.

And to help educate salons and the general public about the new bill, the Berkeley County Health Department has posted it online, here.

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