Baltimore County council passes curbs on teen tanning

Gardina's bills both pass by 6-1

February 17, 2010|By By Mary Gail Hare | The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County Councilman Vincent Gardina's crusade to deter teens from using tanning facilities finally won the support of his colleagues Tuesday, when the council approved two measures intended to make patrons more aware of the risks of ultraviolet rays.

By a vote of 6-1, the panel approved a bill that requires tanning salons to post a sign alerting patrons to the link between tanning and skin cancers. The council also voted 6-1 to require owners of tanning businesses to demand written parental permission for patrons under age 18. Councilman Kenneth Oliver cast the dissenting vote on both issues.

"The state already has similar measures in place," Oliver said. "These are redundant."

Gardina's push for restrictions has drawn the support of the health community - and the ire of the tanning industry. Medical experts told the council that the incidence of skin cancer is increasing, particularly among young women. Owners of tanning businesses said the debate is unresolved and touted the beneficial aspects of tanning.

Last year, the council turned down a proposal by Gardina that would have banned teens from tanning without a doctor's prescription. Members said while they lauded the intent of that bill, they felt it usurped parental authority. Gardina said he was gratified at the results of the vote but "would still prefer an outright ban on teen tanning."

The bills approved Tuesday will take effect in 45 days. Violators will face civil fines of as much as $100 a day.

In other business, the council unanimously approved a $5.9 million, 10-year lease for about 39,000 square feet in the nearly vacant Randallstown Plaza Shopping Center to house a trade school, a satellite campus of Baltimore County Community College, administrative offices for the county Department of Social Services and its Office of Sustainability as well as a center to assist and train job-seekers.

The federal government would pay $4.7 million of the rent over the term of the lease, which would begin in January 2011, and the county would pay the remaining rent.

The shopping center at the intersection of Liberty and Offutt roads lost its anchor tenant, a Giant Foods supermarket, nearly three years ago.

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