With so much pressure from the media to look a certain way, teens often succumb to the glamorous end result they expect to have after buying a certain product or getting a certain hairstyle. Trying to look our best isnâ€™t a bad thing, but the line must be drawn, and probably one of the most detrimental things you can do is getting a tan. Up to a quarter of Canadian teens go to tanning salons, and despite the â€œIâ€™m only doing it for gradâ€ excuse, once is more than enough.
Exposure to harmful UV rays is a leading cause of melanoma, the third most common form of cancer for people between the ages of 15 and 29, and using indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 has been found to increase the risk of melanoma by 75%!
â€œPeople are constantly telling you that a healthy tan or a healthy glow is a good thing, but if your skin is changing colours it means it’s being damagedâ€ says Olina Chang, a former Burnaby North student who now attends UBC. She is one of the many volunteers who have taken a pledge against tanning as part of the â€œTanning is Outâ€ campaign lead by the Canadian Cancer Societyâ€™s BC & Yukon Division. Since last year, this campaign has caught on throughout the province, with high schools from all over BC opting to ditch the tanning salons and embrace their skin tone. Last year, more than 3,000 grade 12 students pledged to be tan-free for prom or graduation.
This year, â€œTanning is Outâ€ managed to reach Health Minister Mike de Jong, who announced that this fall, the government will to restrict access to tanning beds for young people under the age of 18, and tanning studios caught violating the ban will be subject to a $300 fine. This news has gotten mixed reviews; many tanning salons are upset about losing business, and think that the government has gone too far, while many â€œTanning is Outâ€ volunteers are glad of the profound difference theyâ€™ve accomplished. But certain students arenâ€™t cheering yet. Many say that despite the new legislature, a lot of teens have no idea about the ban, and that there is still a need for public education about tanningâ€™s harmful effects.
Whether it be prom, grad, or any other occasion, all signs point away from tanning. There is no safe, risk-free way to tan, outdoors, indoors, or spray. Â Remember, â€œOrange is a fruit, not a skin colour.â€
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Photo from www.nsnews.com