Spurred by worries about skin cancer, Utah, Virginia and, most recently, North Dakota have joined 25 other states in placing limits on teens seeking a bronze glow from the ultraviolet lights of a tanning bed. Most of the laws require underage teens to get mom’s or dad’s permission to lie under the tanning-bed heat lamps that emit intense UV light. Some states completely ban access to artificial UV light in salons for those younger than 13, 14, 15, or 16. Others require teens to bring along a parent or a doctor’s prescription. Advocates compare the use of tanning beds to cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking – unhealthy practices states already put off limits to minors. But critics deplore further instances of government “nannyism.” “I think it is a personal right to tan, just like it is to talk on a cell phone. When are we going to stop over-regulating the lives of our youth?” asked North Dakota state Sen. Nick Hacker (R), who voted against the bill signed into law by Gov. John Hoeven (R). Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.