Ontario moves to ban teens from tanning beds
Published Thursday, March 7, 2013 8:06AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, March 7, 2013 1:57PM EST
Ontario wants to become the latest province to bring in legislation that would ban teens under the age of 18 from using tanning beds.
Health Minister Deb Matthews says she'll introduce a bill Thursday that would not only ban the sale of tanning services to people under 18, it would require operators to request ID from anyone who appears to be under 25.
Advertising and marketing of tanning services aimed at those under 18 would also be prohibited. As well, tanning bed operators would be required to post signs in their facilities about the health risks associated with the use of tanning beds.
That includes the risk of skin cancer, which increases by 75 per cent when tanning beds are used prior to the age of 35.
Six provinces have now either introduced legislation or brought in regulations that restrict tanning bed use by youth. Quebec, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland have outright bans, while teens in Manitoba need to show parental consent.
The legislation also builds upon the recent by-laws passed in Oakville, Mississauga and Peel Region that have already banned teens under 18 from tanning.
The Liberals will need support from at least one of the opposition parties to pass the bill. That support would likely come from the NDP, since the New Democrats have been lobbying for a ban for years.
The Canadian Cancer Society applauded the decision and offered congratulations to NDP Health Critic France Gélinas, who has championed the youth indoor tanning issue, twice bringing private member's bills forward at Queen's Park.
The Ontario Medical Association, which has been calling for a ban on all uses of indoor tanning equipment since 2010, urged speedy passage of the bill.
"We're glad that the province has taken this important step and is moving to ban this dangerous practice,” OMA President Dr. Doug Weir said in a statement.
“The evidence is simply unequivocal that the use of tanning beds increases cancer risk. And the earlier in life people are exposed to UV rays, the more likely they will develop skin cancer."
The Melanoma Network of Canada also welcomed the news and called for more provincial bans.
"It is our hope that the remaining provinces and territories will follow Ontario's lead and that a nation-wide ban on teen tanning will be in place soon," MNC Chair Annette Cyr said in a statement.
But the Joint Canadian Tanning Association, which represents salons, said they're disappointed with plans for legislation. It says that teens make up only two to five per cent of salon sales and that most professional salons already have age-based restrictions.
"JCTA salons have long instituted standards which restrict access for youth. Unfortunately, due to the actions of a few bad apples within our industry who do not share the JCTA's commitment to client protection, the government has felt the need to respond," president Doug McNabb said in a release.