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City Council Panel Endorses Banning Minors From Tanning Salons

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Emotional testimony on Wednesday spurred a City Council committee to give preliminary approval for an outright ban on people under the age of 18 using tanning parlors.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports 24-year-old Katrina Polansky told the License and Consumer Protection Committee that kids younger than 18 absolutely should not be using tanning beds.

She ought to know, she had been tanning since she was a lot younger than that, and she developed melanoma, a deadly cancer, on her face at the age of 20.

"I went tanning, just like all the other girls, and I never burned, so I thought it was okay," she said. "I started tanning at the age of 15. My mother co-signed for me, which now is one of her biggest regrets. I'll never forget the sound in her voice, or the tears she cried when I told her the news."

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports

Polansky said she used tanning beds five times a week or more, for 20 minutes at a time, for five years before she developed melanoma.

She said, given that minors aren't legally allowed to buy cigarettes, get a tattoo, or make other adult decisions before the age of 18, they shouldn't be allowed to use tanning beds either, since that can also be harmful to their health.

Donna Moncivaiz, 50, also told aldermen of her own experience of developing skin cancer after tanning for years.

"My daughters and I all used tanning beds, and I really never thought a thing of it until I was diagnosed last summer," she said. "The melanoma was on my back. After the surgery to remove it, the wound that was left was about the size of a baseball, and about a half an inch deep, and required a skin graft from my thigh to close."

She said her now 24-year-old daughter also developed melanoma, though thankfully, a very minor case.

"The hardest thing in all is knowing that I gave her permission, that something that I said that she could do harmed my child," Monciviaz said.

The License Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to prohibit tanning parlors from serving customers under the age of 18. The ban would not apply to spray tanning, or tanning beds in private residences.

Violations would result in fines of $100 to $250 for each offense.

The full City Council will consider the ban at its next meeting on June 6.

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