SIYAC takes on tanning


Zoe Wilson

Members of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC) are trying to pass a bill banning the use of tanning beds for all minors. The bill is currently in the House where it will be further discussed in committees.

Olivia White, Staff Writer

As prom quickly approaches, many teenagers look to tanning beds to acquire a certain glow. However, this may be the last year that is possible.

Members of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC), a group focused on passing legislation that affects the young people of Iowa, has sponsored a tanning bill, Senate File 232, banning the use of tanning beds for all minors. “This bill has received some backlash from teenagers that tan,” sophomore and SIYAC member Xiao Liu said. “Some say that it should be their own choice of what they do with their body, however, I completely agree with this bill because I believe that vanity should not be prioritized over health.”

With this bill, members of SIYAC fight to protect the health of Iowa teenagers. Several teenagers disagree with the bill, wanting the choice of whether to tan or not. “My honest opinion about the new tanning law is that it isn’t necessary,” sophomore McKenna Dencklau said. “I am 16, I should have the right to tan if I want to.”

Dencklau is not alone in these beliefs.  “I believe we should have a voice if we tan or not,” sophomore Stefanie Stanstic said. “We are allowed to drive at 14 years old and that is very dangerous as well. If our parents give us consent to, I believe we should be allowed to tan, as long as we were aware of the things that could happen to us, which we are.”

However, some tanners are not fully against this new bill. “I don’t really think the tanning bill is a bad thing,” senior and frequent tanner Sasha Amos said. “But I think that if a parent wants their child to tan before vacation or something, they should have some say whether they can or not.”

Members of SIYAC hope to raise more awareness for the dangers of UV exposures and ensure everyone who tans, fully knows the repercussions. “Teenagers should be more aware of the consequences of using tanning beds,” Liu said. Those who have used tanning beds are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who do not tan, according to

“Although the short term of using tanning beds may not be apparent, the long term consequences are severely detrimental to a person,” Liu said. “Furthermore, there are other methods to achieve a tan that do not come with dangers to one’s health, such as spray tanning and tanning lotion.”

Many other alternative ways to tan exists, like Liu explained, which include spray tanning and tanning lotion. Amos agrees that spray tans are a safer option and can acquire the same tan as a bed.  “I love spray tans, I get them quite frequently,” she said. “It’s just as good as using a bed, and people normally can’t tell. Plus, its safer.”

Tanning beds are more dangerous than just laying out, and some tanning salons make sure their customers know it. “We all have to sign a paper when we turn 16 saying we know the dangers of tanning.” Denckau said. “So it’s not like we don’t know.”

For some tanners, tanning is way to boost confidence and self esteem. “Tanning makes girls feel beautiful,” Dencklau said. “And its their choice to be tan or not.”

The tanning bill is not yet a law because the legislative session is not over. However, much progress has been made on it. It has passed the Senate and has been sent to the House, where it will be further discussed in committees. “SIYAC and myself will continue to advocate for this bill and contact legislators regarding passing this piece of legislation,” Liu said. “It is ridiculous to risk one’s health merely to achieve a different skin color.”