Tanning beds in B.C. banned for kids, teens
Tanning by prescription for teen psoriasis patients
British Columbia became the latest jurisdiction to ban children and teenagers from tanning beds on Tuesday.
Health Minister Mike de Jong says the increased risk of cancer connected to the beds is too great to take less restrictive measures, such as requiring parental consent.
Speaking at the BC Cancer Agency, he said the government will pass regulations by the fall preventing children under 18 from using tanning salons.
De Jong said teens can get a prescription if UV tanning is required for medical reasons, such as to treat psoriasis.
Kathleen Barnard, who was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2003, welcomes the announcement.
"I became tanning obsessed as a teen," she said. "I have had four different treatment protocols, two blood transfusions, three major surgeries."
'I would rather be alive'
Barnard was given nine months to live but beat the odds and founded Save Your Skin, a volunteer organization dedicated to eliminating melanoma.
"I know now I would rather be alive with the skin I was given than die with the skin I so desperately wanted to have," she said.
But Steven Gilroy, the executive director for the Joint Canadian Tanning Association, says the province should do more to regulate the equipment used and the training standards instead of banning teens.
"Parents make that same choice every time they let their child go out to the beach or go on a sunny vacation," he said.
"About three to five percent of our industry is to do with under 18. They only come in for prom or with parents for vacation."
The decision comes after the government consulted the medical community, municipalities and the tanning industry, with all but the industry association calling for a ban.
Nova Scotia already bans anyone under 19 from using tanning beds, and the city of Victoria implemented its own ban last year.