Law bans tanning for minors next year
By Amy Cherry

Updated Monday, July 28, 2014 - 3:26pm

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VIDEO: WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

Starting next year, teens will have to get spray-on tans or use tanning lotions ahead of prom season if they want that summer glow.

WDEL's Amy Cherry explains.

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"I used tanning beds since I was 15."

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Decades later, Stacey Walls of Harrington was diagnosed with skin cancer.

"I only used tanning beds, maybe, for three months out of the year. I didn't think I was the one to get skin cancer from tanning bed use," Walls said.

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But she learned it only takes one exposure and after years of exposure to UV rays, she was at an increased risk.

"My kids were like, 'Mom, you shouldn't do that, you can get skin cancer, you can get skin cancer,' and I'm like, 'No, I'm fine, I won't get skin cancer." And I did, and when I had to tell them that they were right," she said, tears welling in her eyes, "that was hard."

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Effective January 1, teens won't even have that one chance A bill signed into law by Gov. Markell at the American Cancer Society office in New Castle forbids anyone under the age of 18 from setting foot into a tanning bed.

The voice behind the bill belongs to Sherrill Rigney of Bear. Her 22-year-old daughter, Michelle, died of melanoma in 2008 after spending a lot of time in a tanning bed.

"I never saw a cancer take somebody's life so, so fast," Rigney said. "If anybody ever knew how deadly it can be, they would never, ever let their children into a tanning bed, ever."

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Current law requires parents to provide permission slips for children under the age of 18. Rigney says now that won't even be an option.

"No parent will have to give in to their child nagging to go to a tanning bed because their friends are doing it," she said.

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With one in eight people dying of melanoma, Both Walls and Rigney are confident this measure will make teens safer.

"If I could just save one child from having to hear that you have skin cancer, it was completely worth it.

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"It's going to save thousands and thousands of lives. I know it is," said Rigney.

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