David Thompson Secondary School’s tan-free grad initiative just got easier.

2012 was the first time DTSS endorsed a tan-free theme for high school graduation based on the Canadian Cancer Society’s Tan Free Grad Challenge. Now, as of October 15, youth under 18 in British Columbia are no longer permitted to tan using indoor tanning beds according to new regulations put in place by the provincial government.

Brenda Valer, owner of Cutloose Hair & Tanning in Invermere, said she’s only had to turn one person away since the new regulations came into effect.

“I don’t get many tanners under 18, so it’s not going to affect me a lot,” said Valer, who IDs everyone who comes in the door if she doesn’t know them. “At grad time we get a few, but they do a one-month unlimited package and we don’t see them again.”

The underage tanner she turned away knew the announcement was coming but was still surprised, Valer said.

High school graduation is also when Sarena Tschudin with Valley Hair Styling & Tanning in Invermere sees a lot of people under 18 coming in to use the indoor tanning equipment.

“All we can offer them is to tell them where there would be spray tanning,” she said. “We have signs up in our salon that it’s illegal to permit a person under 18 to use UV tanning equipment in this facility without a prescription.”

Businesses that fail to post the required signage informing the public of the ban face a fine of $345. Unlawfully permitting minors to use their indoor tanning equipment also carries a $345 for each offence. The exception to the rule is youth who have a doctor’s prescription for medical skin conditions, such as psoriasis, that require ultraviolet light treatment.

According to a B.C. government press release, the World Health Organization has found that indoor tanning before the age of 35 raises the risk of melanoma — the most deadly type of skin cancer — by 75 per cent, and that incidence rates of melanoma are rising every year in Canada, despite being one of the most preventable types of cancer.

For more information, visit www.cancergameplan.ca/prevention/tan-free-grad.