By David Schultz
The Howard County Board of Health instituted a "tanning ban" for anyone under the age of 18. A county spokesman says they're the first jurisdiction in the nation to do so.
The board was spurred to act by the World Health Organization, which declared tanning beds to be cancer-causing earlier this year.
Greg Safko, with a Maryland-based Melanoma prevention group, says tanning is as dangerous as smoking. "There's no such thing as a safe cigarette," he says. "There's no such thing as a safe tan."
The owners of tanning salons in Howard County and elsewhere in Maryland are not pleased. Bruce Bereano, a lobbyist with a tanning trade group based in D.C., says salon owners will take Howard County's ban to court. "We really don't desire confrontation," says Bereano, "but we cannot stand by and allow this to happen."
The threat of a lawsuit wasn't enough to stop the nine-member board of health. It passed the underage tanning ban last night unanimously.
The ban goes into effect tomorrow.