EDITORIAL: Tanning brings unhealthy glow

B.C. intends to become the second province in Canada to ban children and teenagers under 18 from using tanning beds.

With prom season just around the corner, high school seniors are busy putting the final touches on their formal wear, lining up their dates, arranging their after party.

Some might even be studying for exams.

But come this time next year, one thing they won’t be doing is getting a tan by lying in a bed of glowing ultraviolet lights.

The B.C. government announced its intention to become the second province in Canada to ban children and teenagers under 18 from using tanning beds.

Nova Scotia prohibits anyone younger than 19 from partaking of an indoor tan, and Victoria’s Capital Regional District enacted a municipal bylaw last year preventing children and youth from frequenting tanning salons.

Young people in France, Australia, Brazil, England and Scotland aren’t allowed to use tanning salons.

Exposure to harmful UV rays is a leading cause of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and the second most common cancer in women under the age of 30. A study at the University of Manitoba found people who used tanning beds were 74 per cent more likely to develop melanoma.

In B.C., 850 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year, and 130 will die from it. The World Health Organization has declared tanning beds a carcinogen equivalent to tobacco and arsenic.

Some young people are getting the message. The Canadian Cancer Society’s “Tanning is Out” campaign last year enlisted pledges from more than 3,000 Grade 12 students to be tan-free for prom or graduation.

Still, the myth that a tan is the byproduct of a healthy, active lifestyle persists, perpetuated by heavily made up celebrities on TV shows and models in magazines.

But lying still in the sun or a tanning bed is neither active nor healthy.

– Black Press