B.C. Health minister Michael de Jong bans teens from tanning

Provincewide ban began with Oak Bay students

University of Victoria students and former Oak Bay High graduates Stephanie Wong

Oak Bay High students have stood out for passionately opposing tanning beds, but it won’t be long before they’re in the same boat as teens across B.C.

The Ministry of Health announced a provincewide ban on tanning bed use by people under the age of 18 – a change directly linked to the tan-free movement that began in Oak Bay.

Stephanie Wong and Adele Green, co-founders of the school’s Youth Against Cancer club, were “ecstatic” to hear Health Minister Michael de Jong’s announcement Tuesday morning.

“When the minister said they were actually going to restrict the use (of commercial tanning beds) for youth under the age of 18, we were shocked that the minister had made a decision so early, but not that he actually made the restriction,” said Wong, now a second-year student at the University of Victoria, leading a Youth Against Cancer club on campus with Green. “It just goes to show the direct link between skin cancer and tanning beds.”

Wong and Green were among the first to bring the issue of banning commercial tanning bed use in the Capital Regional District before the CRD board of directors in 2010. The board followed recommendations from Vancouver Island Health Authority chief medical health officer Richard Stanwick and supported a bylaw to ban tanning bed use by young people in January 2011.

Skin cancer remains the most common type of cancer in Canada. The B.C. Cancer Agency estimates that 966 British Columbians will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and 150 will die of it. In 2004, the total direct and indirect economic cost of skin cancer in Canada was estimated at $532 million.

“This is going to spark a generational change, which is ultimately what Adele and I have been working toward,” Wong said. “This shows you don’t have to change the way your skin looks in order to live up to the portrait of beauty. … People and youth should feel comfortable in the skin that they’re living in and shouldn’t have to feel pressured to go and use these beds that would cause them to get skin cancer.”

Wong’s younger sister Jessica, a current student at Oak Bay High, has continued with her sister’s work by recently promoting a Canadian Cancer Society tan-free grad challenge at the school.

Tuesday’s announcement follows the release of a report by an indoor tanning working group that was established as a direct result of the CRD ban.

The proposed regulation under the Public Health Act does not apply to people under the age of 18 who have a medical prescription. It is anticipated to take effect this fall.

Just Posted

Free firework safety courses coming to the West Shore right before Halloween

No permit? You could be fined anywhere between $100 and $10,000

Fairfield-Gonzales residents aim to establish senior care phone line

The Fairfield-Gonzales Village would allow seniors living alone to have a direct line to resources

Vendors open doors to new futures at Black Press Extreme Education & Career Fair

More tham two dozen employers, educators signed on for Victoria event

Persons Day to be marked with literary readings in Sidney

Peninsula authors to read from their new books relating to women and courageous journeys, Oct. 18

Antimatter 2019: The best in experimental media art comes to Victoria

22nd annual festival of film, performance art and more biggest ever – 120 artists, 30 countries

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Dog killed in alleged hit and run, Goodlife Marathon takes over city and more

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Most Read