Age restrictions to be placed on tanning beds, tattoo parlours

James McLeod
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Dave Munro, owner of Trouble Bound Studio, applies a cancer ribbon tattoo to the ankle of Raylynn Ralph. — Telegram file photo

The provincial government is moving to tighten up regulations on tattoo parlours and tanning salons, making sure they’re off limits to young people.

According to legislation tabled in the House of Assembly this week, anybody younger than 19 won’t be allowed to use a tanning salon.

Youths younger than 16 won’t be allowed to get tattoos or piercings without parental consent.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said she likes what she sees in the legislation, especially the measure of completely banning tanning for anybody younger than 19.

“I think it’s long overdue,” Michael said.

Health Minister Susan Sullivan, who introduced the legislation in the House, refused to speak to The Telegram for this story.

Both Michael and Liberal MHA Andrew Parsons said they liked everything in the proposed legislation.

On top of imposing age limits, the legislation would require tanning salons and tattoo parlours to register with the government and meet health regulations.

The health regulations are something that the tattoo and piercing industry has been wanting for years.

In The Weekend Telegram, Trouble Bound Tattoos owner Dave Munro said he made some suggestions to the government about regulations last week.

Talk of legislating industry began in 2006

Munro has been calling on the government to regulate the industry for more than two years.

“You would love to see something as clean and sterile as a dental office or your general doctor’s office. You expect a certain standard of procedural practice," Munro said. "In certain workplaces you require people to know CPR. In certain workplaces you require people to know how to handle blood-borne pathogens. There needs to be assurance that people are following proper disposal techniques for bio-hazardous material, and that age restrictions are put in place (by) government (for) dealing with minors.”

As it stands, Munro said, anybody can get tattooing equipment on eBay and start doing business in unsanitary conditions.

Government regulation of the industry has been discussed since 2006, when a 17-year-old girl died of toxic shock after having her nipple pierced.

Similarly, the idea of regulating tanning beds is something that has been getting a lot of talk.

Last month in the House, Parsons raised the issue during question period.

“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada and one of the most preventable. Studies show that young people who regularly use tanning beds are eight times more likely to get skin cancer than those who never use them,” Parsons said.

After reading the legislation, he said he’s happy with what the government is proposing.

“Given that this is something that we’ve brought up and asked questions on, we’re happy to see it,” Parsons said. “When it comes to the tanning issue, this is something that’s been advocated for by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Medical Association and the fact is that tanning is now in the same level as tobacco as a carcinogen, so we have to treat it the same way.”

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: EBay, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Medical Association

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Kaylee B
    June 06, 2012 - 15:33

    When you live in a place like newfoundland and receive 2 weeks of summer weather whats the harm in going for a tan?!? At least the ppl who do tan are getting there daily amount of vitamin D! The government needs to stop worrying about foolish things like this and start worrying about more important things! Like the fact that our roads are not fit to drive on, or that muskrat falls is going to triple the amount we pay for electricity!

    • Chantelle
      June 07, 2012 - 15:09

      @ Kaylee B you wont need to worry about how much you pay for electricity when you end up with cancer... if parents arent going to do thier job in protecting thier kids someone has to. Tanning just ONCE increases your chances of melanoma by 41% personally id rather take a multivitamin to get my vitamin d than take that sort of risk! Natural.outdoor tanning is better albeit not great as the ozone layer which was our uv filter has greatly depleted... at tanning salons you get the pure uv radiation at point blank the only filter is over your face...

  • Chantelle
    June 06, 2012 - 10:25

    As an advocate for safe tattooing and piercing it is excellent to see this finally reaching the table and those in th suits. I am not a tattoo artist nor do i claim to be, I am simply your everyday person with a few tattoos. I know all of my tattoos have been done in reputable studios where i have personally seen the sterilizing equipment and its inspection certificates. The rule if thumb is16 with permission but i know a studio in the twin cities right now that will tattoo a 15 year old. I believe you ahould have to be a legal adult to make such permanent decisions. As well we need to stop kitchen scratchers from being able to reek havoc on people. Youtube it peopke. What would i do for batdance tickets.... the tattoo "artist" did this job in a kitchen and proceeded to wipe blood from.her arm and stick the same hand in the tub of vaseline... unsanitary practices need to be stopped! As well tattoo artists need to be trained in blood borne pathogens and cpr at the minimum!

  • tally
    June 06, 2012 - 09:34

    As far as i know now, anyone under 16 already needs parental consent for tattoos, piercing and tanning. It just should be banned all together until age 19, which is the legal age of adulthood (based on being able to buy alcohol, etc). But often the teens get someone to write them a letter pretending its their parents consenting. SO what needs to occur is that the parent or guardian needs to be present during the tattoo or piercing. I think that this is a move in the right direction and long overdue, and this is coming from someone who tans, has tattoos, and piercings. (But all done over the age of 18.)

  • Calvin
    June 06, 2012 - 09:12

    It is all well and good to pass legislation to restrict people under 19 from using tanning beds, it will be another thing to enforce it. I imagine a significant portion of a tanning salons clients are under 19, so unless government or police are going to be doing regular, un-scheduled checks and monitoring on the tanning salons, the owners will continue to allow the young people to make use of the facilities. It is like saying you are gonna fine people for not picking up after their pets in the public, it will only work if it is enforced. There are bigger problems with todays youth than using tanning beds. I am convinced that the rampant cell phone usage evident everywhere you look is causing more damage than a few high school students getting a tan come grad time. Have a look around the next time you walk through the foodcourt or theatre at the mall. Groups of people, young and old, sitting around staring into their little LCD and LED screens searching for the meaning to their miserable little lives. I cant sit around and have a conversation with my wife in the evening without the contstant interruption of her vibrating cell phone. If I thought my vibrations would give her the same satisfaction it wouldnt be so bad. Leave the tanners alone, we were all doomed the day the first text message was sent anyway.

    • Jennifer
      June 06, 2012 - 09:46

      So, you mean to say tattoo and piercing shops havent been goverement regulated up to now? What is wrong with this province? Thats like allowing a nurse to give needles to people without any formal training. I would have just assumed that anyone dealing with blood, needles, and the risk of blood-borne pathogens would have manatory formal training and be subject to health inspections etc. I am actually blown away by this...

  • Telegrump
    June 06, 2012 - 09:09

    This is a big step in the right direction. It's about time we ban highschool students from tanning beds. I think they should be banned all together, and hopefully in the near future they will be. Regarding the tattoos, it would be nice if they were also banned until 19. However by putting that law in place, teens may try to get one done in their friend's basement. At least by not banning them all together, we don't have to worry (as much) about teens getting tattoos from amateur tattoo artists.

  • Kate M
    June 06, 2012 - 08:59

    I agree with the new tanning bed regulations, but government should not be allowed to intervene to not allow piercing or tattooing under the age of 19 indefinitelly. Parents should have to provide premission, but it is not the governments place to determine who or who not is deemed mentally fit for minor body modifications. C'mon we are the tattooed generation. If the work is done in a clean and regulated place, it should not be an issue. Also Yay Trouble Bound, I love that you're putting your name behind this. Good for you.

  • sandra
    June 06, 2012 - 07:48

    Im very pleased with the taning age, however ,I believe that the tatto and body piercing should also be 19 as many parents don't have the sense that God gave them to make an educated decision on these things. Therefore it should be Government controlled at the age of 19 as well