Age restrictions to be placed on tanning beds, tattoo parlours

James McLeod
Published on June 6, 2012
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.”

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