Ontario Government to ban tanning beds for teens under 18
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 11:09
The Ontario Government will ban the use of tanning beds to those under the age of 18-years-old with hopes to protect them from skin cancer, according to Liberal Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty.
McGuinty told the press after his visit to the cancer clinic in Toronto General Hospital that, “There’s a strong consensus among the scientific community, people who work on the front lines, that we need to do something about young people who are getting access to tanning beds.”
The Ontario Government does not have scientific facts to back up their evidence that skin cancer can be a result of tanning, but this is a work in progress. McGuinty stated that The Canadian Cancer Society informs the government that sun tanners are 75 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than non-users. In fact, The World Health Organization has classified tanning beds in its highest cancer risk category, which puts it in the same category as asbestos and tobacco. Instead of the provincial government introducing their own legislation, the Premier wants to adopt a private members bill by New Democrat, France Gelinas, to restrict the use of tanning beds to adults.
“I’ve only been around 22 years, but I’ve never heard of a premier standing up and saying ‘instead of pursuing our proposal, we’re going to adopt a private members’ bill, which I think is important in and of itself,’” said McGuinty. Gelinas was pleased and surprised that the McGuinty government was on board with the idea of banning all tanning beds for teenagers.
“We’re actually working together to do something good. Not only will we protect a whole bunch of young people from developing skin cancer, we also have an opportunity to save money down the road because treatment of melanoma is no picnic,” Gelinas said in a National Post interview.
However, the Joint Canadian Tanning Association, an organization that represents the indoor tanning industry, has called the provincial government to regulate and strengthen voluntary guidelines such as parental consent for those under 18-years-old.
The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) has warned many not to fall into “myths.” For example, that tanning will make your skin healthy, tanning beds protect you from the sun or tanning is a safer method to get Vitamin D. The CCS website displays facts such as skin pigment changes, or tanning beds not protecting individuals from the sun.
Oakville recently became the first city in Ontario to ban young people from using tanning beds and other municipalities in the province were considering implementing bylaws. Nova Scotia already bans people under 19 -years-old from using tanning beds, while Quebec introduced legislation last May to keep people under 18-years-old from using them. British Columbia plans similar legislation, and is underway; while in Manitoba the law requires written parental consent for people under 18-years-old that want to use a tanning bed. Internationally France, Germany, and Australia have also banned young people from using tanning beds.