By Pat Loeb

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — A New Jersey Assembly committee today approved a bill that would ban anyone under 18 from using a tanning salon.

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The vote followed a hearing that included many references to the Nutley, NJ woman (photo) charged with taking her six-year-old daughter tanning.

New Jersey already bars anyone under 14 from tanning salons, and requires parental consent for anyone between 14 and 17 years old.

But the bill’s sponsors contend that that’s insufficient protection.

“We know about that woman,” testified oncologist Elizabeth Quigley.  “When her child turns 14, I think she’s signing the consent.  I mean, can I walk into a liquor store and say, ‘I’ve given (my child) my permission to drink’?  (or) ‘Oh, you’re 16, here’s my permission to go buy cigarettes.’ ”

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Sponsors add that parental consent is too easy to get around — that some parents are as uneducated about the dangers of teen tanning as their invincible-feeling children.

Opponents from the indoor tanning industry say it is an overreaction to Patricia Krentcil, arrested after a teacher at her daughter’s grade school heard the sunburned girl tell a classmate that she went “tanning with mommy.”

“I want to formally state this is not behavior we condone or encourage,” said one witness today.  “Her behavior stems from a psychological compulsive behavior that we all see in every vanity industry.”

The protests were to no avail.  The bill got out of committee with five “yes” votes and two abstentions.

Now, the measure heads to the full New Jersey Assembly.

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