Changes to a provincial regulation banning anyone under the age of 18 from using indoor ultraviolet tanning beds are now in effect across B.C.
“We are committed to fighting the battle against cancer in all its forms, including skin cancer,” said Health Minister Margaret McDiarmid.
“Beginning Oct.15, young people under the age of 18 will be banned from tanning beds to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer later in life”
As of today, businesses that fail to post the required sign informing the public of the ban, or who violate the ban by unlawfully permitting minors to use their indoor tanning equipment without a prescription, will face a fine of $345 for each offence.
Under the Public Health Act, changes to the provincial regulated activities regulation ban the use of commercial UV indoor tanning beds by youths, unless they have a medical prescription for a condition such as psoriasis that requires ultraviolet light treatment.
Today’s announcement follows the government’s announcement in March that it planned to ban youths from indoor tanning.
That announcement followed the release of a report compiled by an indoor tanning working group.
“As a stage four melanoma survivor, I am living proof of the dangers of tanning as a young person, said Kathleen Barnard of the Save Your Skin Foundation, a group that has been calling for such a ban.
“There are not many of us still alive. That’s why I applaud this regulation. If there is anything we can do to prevent skin cancer later in life, we can save hundreds of families from being ripped apart by this disease.”
The working group was established following the Capital Regional District’s 2011 bylaw that banned minors under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning beds. A number of requests for a province-wide ban were received, including a resolution from the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
The report released by the working group included the recommendation of a ban.
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 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.
This year, the B.C. 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.