Province bans tanning bed use for young people

By the fall of 2012 commercial tanning bed use will be banned for youths under age 18.

The Province announced on March 20 that it will ban commercial tanning bed use by young people under the age of 18 to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer later in life.

“Unfortunately, cancer affects thousands of British Columbian families with one in three people expected to develop some form of cancer – such as skin cancer like melanoma – in their lifetime,” said Health Minister Michael de Jong. “After a great deal of consideration of clinical evidence… the government has decided to restrict access to tanning beds for young people under the age of 18.”

Studies have shown 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 incidence 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.

In 2012, the BC Cancer Agency estimates that 966 British Columbians will be diagnosed with melanoma and 150 will die of it. One in 69 females and one in 56 males is expected to develop melanoma during their lifetime. One in 413 females and one in 284 males is expected to die of melanoma.

The proposed regulation under the Public Health Act will ban the use of commercial indoor tanning beds by youth under the age of 18, unless they have a medical prescription. It is anticipated to take effect fall 2012.

The announcement follows the release of a report compiled by an Indoor Tanning Working Group that was put together at the request of the Health Minister in fall 2011 to provide recommendations and options.

The working group was established following the introduction of a bylaw that banned minors under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning beds by the Capital Regional District in Victoria, as well as a subsequent number of requests for a provincewide ban.

The report included the recommendation of implementing a ban for youth under the age of 18 years from using commercial indoor tanning equipment without a medical prescription.

The report is available online.

The Golden Star wants to know what you think. Should youths under the age of 18 be legally allowed to use commercial tanning beds?