Students against tanning beds potentially becoming illegal for minors in Nebraska


With prom right around the corner, more and more teenage girls go to tanning beds in preparation. School Nurse Cindy Gengel said that to stay healthy, students should spray tan or not tan at all.

“I think pale skin’s okay sometimes. I don’t think you have to be overly tan for prom,” Gengel said.

Many students, however, disagree. Junior Brandi Golling said she doesn’t like having pale skin in the winter because of how it makes her look. Sophomore Stephanie Purcell also prefers pale skin, because she thinks being tan makes her appear thinner.

Freshman Mequel Smith has advice for girls who considered tanning to enhance their appearance.

“You don’t really need to tan because you look alright already,” Smith said.

Both Golling and Purcell think a healthy amount of tanning is one-two times per week. Purcell’s mom, however, has a different opinion about her tanning habits.

“My mom told me I have to stop tanning because she thinks I’m going to get Melanoma,” Purcell said.

For many, the love of tanning goes beyond their refusal to look pale. Golling said tanning beds feel “warm, calm and exciting.”

“It’s really bright and it makes me happy,” Golling said.

During prom season, more students visit the Nurse’s office after experiencing complications of tanning.

“With prom season coming up we’ll start seeing a lot of people, and sometimes they show up [in the Nurse’s office] with some side effects,” Gengel said. “Sometimes it can cause your skin to get overly dry or can accidentally get burned.

Golling has had personal experience with these complications. She’s received itchy sunburn from tanning beds, but said it went away pretty quick.

Long-term side effects also have potential to appear. Gengel said the mature aging of skin and possibly cancer are some of the common side-effects.

Lately Nebraska’s senate is discussing a bill for tanning beds to become illegal for students that are under the age of 18, regardless of whether you have parent consent. The bill was proposed by Jeremy Nordquist because he feels that teenagers do not always consider their long-term health when deciding to tan.

33 other states already have tanning restrictions in place for minors, and many believe Nebraska is next. Though she wouldn’t be surprised if the bill passed, Golling feels that taking minors’ right to tan away would be unjust.

“If you’re going to go tanning it’s kind of up to you,” Golling said.

Until the bill is passed, Gengel has advice for students that plan to continuing to tan.

“It’s not without risk so you have to be careful,” Gengel said

Hailey Stolze
Website Editor-in-Chief and West Wind Commentary Editor