BC TANNING BAN 02353508

Alberta has no government regulations regarding the use of tanning beds by minors. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

A CBC News investigation of tanning salons across Canada shows that young people under 18 are often being allowed to tan without parental consent, contrary to voluntary industry guidelines.

CBC News asked teen girls under 18 in six Canadian cities to go to salons and ask if they could tan.

In 20 cases, or 65 per cent of the time, the teenager was allowed into the tanning room. In those cases, the girls did not use the tanning beds.

In Calgary, a 15-year-old girl was allowed to tan at three out of four businesses.

The association that speaks for the tanning bed industry wants tougher regulations.

"My reaction is, is I'm disappointed. But again, all of our members want to move this to a regulation. We don't want it as a guideline, we want to move this to a regulation," said Steven Gilroy, who speaks for the Joint Canadian Tanning Association.

The owner of one of the Calgary salons that breached the tanning association’s guidelines said she's appalled by the results of the CBC News investigation. She said she will fire the employee who was involved.

In Alberta, there are no regulations governing the use of tanning beds by young people.

Nova Scotia has had legislation prohibiting anyone under the age of 19 from using tanning beds since May 31, 2011.

The Quebec government recently passed a law banning the use of tanning beds by those under the age of 18, and the Newfoundland and Labrador government also proposed a similar law this week.

Dr. Ian Landells, a dermatologist in St. John's, said the younger you are when you start using tanning beds the higher the chance of getting melanoma.

"So if you use a tanning bed once between the age of 18 and 25 … you've increased your risk of melanoma [by] 41 per cent," he added, citing a 2010 study published in the International Journal of Cancer.

The Canadian Dermatology Association estimates that 970 Canadians will die of melanoma this year, and an estimated 5,800 new cases will be diagnosed.