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Collaborative effort will address tanning risks

By Nicole Kleinsteuber
Prince Edward County Council will develop collaborations with the Added Touch Salon, Hastings of Prince Edward Health Unit and Canadian Cancer Society to raise public awareness of the risks of youth of indoor tanning.

Councillors asked the Hastings and Prince Edward County Health Unit to solicit support from neighbouring municipalities in their pursuit to regulate indoor tanning for youth.

Cindy Kirkpatrick, a public health nurse with the Cancer Prevention Program at the Hastings and Prince Edward County Health Unit addressed council last Thursday requesting the development of a municipal indoor tanning bylaw that regulates indoor tanning.

“If you bring something like this into the county, well you’ve got to go across the bridge to Belleville, Napanee and Kingston as well,” said councillor Kevin Gale during the committee of the whole meeting.

Gale said he’s not opposed to the bylaw but he doesn’t understand why Prince Edward County is the only municipality being asked to consider it at this point.

Kirkpatrick said she was approached by councillor Barbara Proctor to address the youth tanning issue in Prince Edward County.  She agreed to request assistance from communities such as Belleville, Quinte West and Napanee.

Councillor Bev Campbell said it’s important for council to consult with other municipalities so they don’t drive customers away from Prince Edward County to other facilities.

“I wouldn’t want the development of a bylaw in Prince Edward County to be dependent on agreement from all of the municipalities,” said Campbell.

Councillor Brian Marisett said he supports the motion because it’s a public health issue and the council will be showing leadership.

“Until the province hears the concerns of enough municipalities then it doesn’t make their priority list,” said Marisett.

Councillor Proctor said Bill 31 proposing regulations on tanning salons is stalled at the provincial level.

“If municipalities can create a chain reaction and create an awareness to youth, then it’s their choice after that,” said Proctor.  “It’s like smoking – you can only go so far and you have to leave it up to choice.”

During her deputation, Kirkpatrick said the advocating for healthy policies for the population is part of her responsibility as a public health nurse.

“Children and adolescents are vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation,” said Kirkpatrick. “While the information may not change behaviours it does help consumers such as parents to make informed choices about how indoor tanning can affect their child’s health,” said Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick said 50,000 Ontario high school students and 26 per cent of young women ages 16 to 24 years have used indoor tanning equipment more than 20 times in one season alone.

“It is no wonder melanoma skin cancer is one of the most common forms of skin cancer for young people between the ages of 15 and 29,” said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick said a study conducted in Toronto in 2008 found more than 50 per cent of indoor tanning operators knowingly allowed students less than 16 years of age with skin type 1 to tan.

During his deputation to council, Paul Hawkins, the owner of the Added Touch Salon in Picton, said during the 13 years he’s been in the tanning business he doesn’t recall anyone under the age of 16 requesting to tan.  Hawkins said he has strict policies in place preventing youth from tanning without parental consent.

“We discuss procedures and provide goggles; no one can control their own time tanning time,” said Hawkins.  “We limit customers to 2 to 3 times a week as the maximum, until they get a base up then if they wish to do more then it’s totally up to them.”

“We do have a managed facility in our store to answer any questions the public may have, make it a safe service that we can offer to the residents of Prince Edward County,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins asked council for permission to sit on a committee that works to regulate tanning along with other tanning operators and the Joint Canadian Tanning Association.

“We don’t have a problem with having regulations in place,” said Hawkins.  “If we can get all facilities to do this then I think we go a long ways toward helping people understand that there may be some risks,” said Hawkins.

But not every councillor agrees with the proposed bylaw restricting youth from using tanning beds.

Councillor Keith MacDonald said he thinks this bylaw is going too far and the county is being “bylawed to death”.

“I say live and let live,” said MacDonald.  If you don’t want to go there then don’t go there.”

“Our youth have a lot more problems right now than worrying about whether or not to go to tanning salons,” said councillor Jamie Forrester.  “How about we take the money we’re going to spend wasting on this for hours and weeks with staff presentations and put that toward feeding kids in the county or giving them coats?” said Forrester.

Council requested staff to bring forward a draft resolution to the August 11 committee of the whole meeting that would identify the risks of indoor tanning to youth as confirmed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Health Canada and by the Canadian Cancer Society.

Filed Under: Local News

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