No more tanning beds for children under 18

Government introduces new rules to protect against cancer risk

Kids who want that golden look will have to get it out of a spray bottle or the old fashioned way following new regulations handed down by the Ministry of Health last week.

Starting now, people under 18 can’t use indoor tanning beds. Businesses that allow kids to do that will be slapped with a $345 fine.

The new rule comes under the Public Health Act and says minors are banned from tanning beds unless they have a medical condition such as psoriasis that requires them to have ultraviolet light treatment.

The World Health Organization has found that indoor tanning before the age of 35 raises the risk of melanoma by 75 per cent. Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer.

In Canada, the rates of melanoma are rising every year. Overall, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada, and yet it is also one of the most preventable.

The government said earlier this year that it intended to ban youths from suntan beds.

An industry spokesman said it welcomed the ban and wanted another clause banning self-timers, so that clients are limited in the amount of time they’re catching UV rays.

Prior to the new rules, most in the industry required parental consent for those 16 to 19 years old. People in that age group only accounted for about five per cent of clientele.

The B.C. Cancer Agency estimates that 966 British Columbians will be diagnosed with melanoma and 150 will die of it this year. One in 69 females and one in 56 males are expected to develop melanoma during their lifetime. One in 413 females and one in 284 males is expected to die of melanoma.

The Canadian Cancer Society welcomed the move.

“This healthy public policy is an important step forward in the fight against cancer,” says Barbara Kaminsky, CEO. “Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada but it is also one of the most preventable. These regulations will help save lives.”