AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate has upheld Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to bar children under the age of 18 from using tanning salons.

Senators’ 19-16 vote Tuesday to sustain the governor’s veto fell short of the minimum of 24 needed to override. The bill was intended to protect youths from risks of skin cancer. The sponsor, Sen. Geoff Gratwick, a Bangor Democrat and doctor, said teens who use tanning beds increase their cancer risk by 75 percent.

LePage objected, saying the bill tells Maine parents that the Legislature knows better than they do when it comes to their children.

The present state law says anyone from 14 to age 17 can use a tanning bed with a parent’s permission. No one younger than 14 is allowed to use one.

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