The province is protecting young people from harmful UV ray exposure with legislation that comes into effect today, May 31.
Under the new Tanning Bed Act, it is now illegal for people under 19 years of age to use tanning beds.
"This is about protecting the health and well-being of young Nova Scotians," said Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness. "Nova Scotia has among the highest incidence rates of cancer, including melanoma, in the country and we need to do all we can to reduce the risk to our youth of developing this disease."
Studies have shown that indoor tanning before the age of 35 raises the risk of melanoma by 75 per cent. Overall, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada and yet it is also one of the most preventable.
Over the next several months, the new law will come into effect using a phased-in approach. In the coming weeks, tanning bed operators from across Nova Scotia will receive information packages, including signs, detailing the new regulations. A guide will also be distributed to tanning bed operators in the coming months.
"While we take this new law very seriously, it is also our responsibility to ensure that tanning bed operators have the proper information and have adequate time to adjust their business practices," said Ms. MacDonald.
During the fall months, inspectors will be visiting tanning salons across Nova Scotia to ensure they are in compliance with the new rules. In addition, a 1-800 number will be established where people can report wrongdoing.
Tanning bed owners can be fined up to a maximum of $10,000 and have their business closed for up to two years for repeated violations of the act.
The World Health Organization now classifies UV rays as a known carcinogen.
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