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Tanning beds losing lustre among Greater Trail teens

Upcoming legislation will set age limits on tanning bed use

Along with the annual prom season comes traditional grad pampering.

However, one ritual is taking a lot of heat and it’s not coming from the ultraviolet radiation emitted from tanning beds.

This week, Quebec enacted legislation prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 years old from using tanning salons. B.C. is preparing to pass similar legislation this fall, while Nova Scotia already bans anyone under 19 years old from using the tanning salons.

And while the trend in past years was to have a base tan for those all-important grad moments, that idea is fading as fast as the fake tans.

“Personally I have never tanned in a tanning bed, but I know many people who have,” said Cassidy Favaro, who will graduate this year at Crowe. “I choose not to because I’ve never been interested in the look of a fake tan.”

There are five businesses, ranging from hair salons to fitness centres, which currently offer tanning bed services in the Trail area.

Adrienne Jones of Jones Company Hair Studio on Cedar Ave., said her businesses already follows the proposed legislation in setting a minimum age for tanning bed use.

Jody Fors of Performance Fitness in Trail said most users of his tanning beds are adults and since the gym has a minimum age requirement, the age restrictions haven’t been an issue for him.

A study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer stated the risk of melanoma for anyone under the age of 35 is increased by 75 per cent when using indoor tanning beds.

Patti Moore, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) Health Promotion Team Head for the Southern Interior shares another concern.

“In August of 2009 the World Health Organization declared the use of indoor tanning beds as a known carcinogen. Moore explained this “puts it in the same category as tobacco” and perhaps something that can be just as addictive.

And even as the CCS is advocating their ‘Tanning it Out’ campaign, to reduce if not minimize any form of tanning, it was still “a very exciting day” Moore said, when the BC government declared its support for the legislation setting age limits at salons.

Of course, the government’s goals go up against the bombardment of advertising young women are subjected to emphasizing a certain look.

According to “Body Image & Advertising,” the average women sees 400 to 600 advertisements per day.

That pressure to mimic the look in advertisements adds to the pressure during prom season.

However, today’s youth are increasingly aware that the media’s perception of beauty and the realities of life are in stark contrast.

Amanda Pourmokhtari, a past Crowe graduate, who has never even used a tanning bed, echoed that sentiment.

“I just mostly want to look presentable” she said. “In our lifestyle, (advertising) is hard to ignore but I think it’s just something to be aware of and question.”