Tan-free in B.C.

British Columbia youth are no longer able to tan in booths as of Monday, Oct. 15.

British Columbia residents under the age of 18 are officially prohibited from entering a tanning booth in the province as of Monday.

The Canadian Cancer Society is applauding the B.C. government’s move, which imposes a $345 fine on any businesses that do not comply with the regulations.

“This announcement is a huge step forward in the fight against cancer,” said Patti Moore, team leader of health promotion for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cranbrook office.

The Cranbrook office has worked with Mount Baker Secondary School graduates in recent years on a Tan-Free Grad initiative. Moore said it’s exciting to see the regulations passed at a provincial level after so much hard work here in Cranbrook.

But the most exciting thing about the new law is that fewer young people will be at risk of melanoma. Moore said tanning before the age of 35 has been found to increase the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer by 87 per cent.

“This regulation coming into effect today is going to save lives,” she said.

The work will continue to educate the public about the risks of tanning, because of that startling statistic. Melanoma is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in youth between the ages of 15 and 29. The Mount Baker students encouraged their peers to own their skin tone and not tan artificially in a booth or through sun exposure.