Oakville bans teens from using tanning beds
Published Monday, August 13, 2012 12:12PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 14, 2012 1:01PM EDT
The town of Oakville has become the first municipality in Ontario to prevent teens from using tanning beds.
Oakville town council voted Monday evening to pass a bylaw that makes it illegal for anyone 18 years of age or younger to use a tanning bed.
The move comes before any similar action from the Ontario government, which is currently studying health concerns associated with tanning beds and may introduce a similar ban when the legislature resumes.
Oakville’s move is being applauded by the Canadian Cancer Society.
“Oakville, being able to say, ‘no, we need action now’ and they’re able to act faster for public health. This is why it is really great that they have taken action and protected youth in that area,” said Canadian Cancer Society spokesperson Florentina Stancu-Soare.
Twelve beauty salons in Oakville currently have active tanning beds and the prospect of an youth tanning ban has some of those business owners worried.
“It’s a bad policy because it does not serve anyone,” said tanning salon owner Steve Williams. “It doesn’t teach people to tan moderately.”
Williams would rather see salons use a parental consent form to allow parents to determine whether or not their teen can tan.
“The idea with parental consent is that there is a serious benefit in using a tanning bed prior to going down south,” Williams said. “It prevents sunburn and that’s what everybody wants to do.”
However, the Canadian Dermatology Association says that any level of ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning beds can increase the risk of melanoma, which is the most deadly form of skin cancer.
The Canadian Cancer Society has also linked the ultraviolet radiation used in tanning beds to skin cancer and it says that youth who use tanning beds are at an 87 per cent greater risk for developing melanoma.
Provinces, including Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec, have already introduced legislation banning teens from using tanning beds.
Mississauga and Brampton are also working on similar bylaws.
Toronto, however, is on the fence, something the Canadian Cancer Society hopes will change.
“There hasn’t been movement at the local level, yet, but we’re always hopeful,” said Florentina Stancu-Soare.
The World Health Organization says the use of tanning devices by anyone under the age of 30 increases the risk of cancer by 45 per cent.
A pro-tanning lobby group, The Joint Canadian Tanning Association, said its members already require parental consent for youth tanning and the creation of a discussion group is preferred to an outright ban.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Ashley Rowe