The owner of a string of tanning salons across the island says the government is going too far with new legislation banning the use of indoor tanning.
As of Friday, it will be illegal for anyone younger than 19 to use a tanning bed. The new law is drawing mixed reviews. — Thinkstock image
Anyone younger than 19 years old looking to brown up in a tanning bed won’t be legally allowed to catch those rays as of Friday. The legislation passed in the House of Assembly in June 2012.
Vic Lawlor owns Arizona Heat Inc. He says he agrees with regulating the industry, but an all-out ban on people younger than 19 is too much.
“I think that government should not be telling 18-year-olds, who are adults, that they are not permitted to tan.
“I fully agree with regulating an industry, but I think parents should make the decision for a 16- or 17-year-old whether they can tan. I don’t think government should be making these decisions,” Lawlor, who is out of the province, told The Telegram via email.
Lawlor requires parental consent for people younger than 18 and has done so since he opened 14 years ago.
He feels there are better things for the government to be spending its time and money on, such as the drug and crime habits of young people.
“They should put their funding towards issues that really matter, not on whether an 18-year-old should be allowed to tan. It’s laughable how out of touch our government is with what’s important,” he says.
But other people see tanning as damaging, and the new law as imperative. Dermatologist Dr. Ian Landells has worked on getting the regulations changed for years.
“I’m really happy they’re finally making it law,” he says.
In a June 2012 interview with The Telegram, Landells said tanning beds emit ultraviolet radiation and should be treated the same as tobacco.
“It’s great news and it’s been a long time coming. I just hope they enforce it properly,” he says.
When contacted about enforcement, RNC media relations officer, Const. Geoffrey G. Higdon, said there is no designation as to who enforces it yet.
“I will say that as a provincial police force, we are able to enforce any and all provincial statutes. According to the online publication of the act it is not in force yet and the minister has yet to designate the particulars around enforcement,” Higdon said in an email.
As for how it will affect business, tanning salons contacted by The Telegram said they don’t get a tremendous number of people under the age of 19 except around grad time.
Lawlor says it won’t affect his enterprise. If young people are well done with one side of his business, it’s as easy as flipping over to another.
“Seventeen and 18 year olds account for about three per cent of my business and we have spray tanning at all our salons so they will just transfer over to that side of my business.”