Tanning bed in use.

(Photo: Courtesy of Evil Erin)

After two days of debate, Colorado lawmakers gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill that bans children under age 18 from using commercial tanning beds.

Representative Cherylin Peniston (D-Wesminster) cited recent health studies showing skin cancer rates, especially among young women, rising sharply.

“Can we please save lives of our young adults who don’t have knowledge to decide whether this is a good activity or not?" Peniston asked. "They want to go to the prom and look pretty. I don’t blame them. I wanted to go to prom and look pretty. But I don’t want to give up my life to do that.” 

Republicans criticized the bill as government meddling in Coloradans lives. Those critics, unsuccessfully, to change the bill to let 16- and 17-year-olds visit tanning salons with parental permission.

Representative Bob Gardner (R-Colo. Springs) said this bill is evidence that Colorado has reached the "nanny state."

“And the problem with the nanny state, more than anything else, is that it relieves families of responsibility," Gardner said. "It relieves parents of responsibility. It relieves individuals of responsibility. This is one more step for the nanny state and Big Brother control of everything in our lives.”

The bill now goes on to a final House vote and, if approved, then moves on to the state Senate.