Tanning Bed Ban Now in Effect

By Pacific Derm on November 4 2012

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With the onset of the colder weather and planning for winter vacations, many people will make plans to hit their local tanning salon. They might want to rethink that visit, however, in light of recent movements around the world to ban tanning bed usage—especially for minors.

Announced by the BC government in March, the ban on tanning bed usage for minors took effect on October 15th across the province. Businesses who permit minors to use tanning equipment may face a $345 fine and must post signs clearly stating minors are not allowed. Minors who require ultraviolet (UV) light treatment to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, will still be allowed if they have a medical prescription.

Reasons Behind the Ban

The goal is to reduce the chances of minors developing skin cancer later in life. Many tanning bedsupporters argue that minors who sun tan on the beach are at the same risk, but this is false reasoning: tanning beds contain five times more UV rays than natural sunlight. Too much UV radiation is the main cause of skin cancer. Since sun damage is cumulative, if a person starts using a tanning bed early in life, there will be more damage as an adult.

Groups calling for the ban include the Canadian Dermatological Association, the Canadian Pediatric Society, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Cancer Society and the World Health Organization. The BC Cancer Agency estimates that there will be more than 960 British Columbians diagnosed with melanoma in 2012*.

Bans in Other Jurisdictions

In Canada, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador already have tanning bed bans in place for minors, and Victoria implemented its own ban last year. California was the first state in the US to ban children under 18 in October 2011. Approximately thirty other states have some age restrictions on the usage of tanning beds. France has a similar ban to BC and California, and the Australian state of New South Wales will ban tanning beds outright by 2014.

*Source: BC Cancer Agency, “Estimated New Cancer Diagnoses for 2012 by Age at Diagnosis & Gender”