Tanning Beds

Environmental Health

Tanning Beds

As of July 1, the inspection, compliance and enforcement functions from several provincial government departments will come together under Nova Scotia Environment.

Departments involved in this consolidation include the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Health and Wellness, the Department of Agriculture, Nova Scotia Environment, and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

For more information, visit novascotia.ca/nse/inspection-compliance-enforcement/

It is against the law for anyone to sell UV tanning services to youth under 19 in Nova Scotia.

Studies have shown that indoor tanning before the age of 35 raises the risk of melanoma by 75 per cent. Overall, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada and yet it is also one of the most preventable.

Read the Tanning Beds Act and Tanning Facilities Regulations. The Tanning Beds Act requires all tanning facilities to:

  • Display signs relating to the sale of access to tanning equipment and the effect of tanning on health;
  • Require a person appearing to be under the age of nineteen years to provide proof of age before selling access to tanning equipment to that person.

The Tanning Facilities Regulations further detail the required specifications for warning signs, including wording and the general locations in which the signs must be posted. Copies of the signs have been mailed to all tanning facilities in the province.

Tanning Bed Owners Guide to the Tanning Beds Act

The Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness is providing this booklet to owners of tanning facilities in order to promote understanding of the legislation regarding tanning equipment in Nova Scotia.

Download Tanning Bed Owners Guide to the Tanning Beds Act in PDF format.

Need Help?

Contact the Environmental Health Division if you require more information or assistance.

Email: environmental.health@gov.ns.ca
Phone:  (902) 424 - 0285 (Halifax area)
Toll free: 1-800-565-3611

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I contact if I have more questions about the Tanning Beds Act and Regulations and its application?

For general information or questions about the Tanning Beds Act and Regulations, email: nstanningregs@gov.ns.ca or call 1-800-565-3611.

Why did the province choose to pursue regulation of the tanning industry?

Nova Scotia has some of the highest skin cancer rates in the country. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified UV light from tanning beds as a human carcinogen.

We also know that the tanning industry uses marketing strategies to target youth and through provincial tobacco efforts, we’ve learned that legislation that protects youth is an important place to start.

Why set the age limit to youth under 19 years of age?

Setting the age limit at 19 is consistent with other laws in Nova Scotia, like tobacco and alcohol. This age limit also lets us target many high school students.

We want to reach this age group before they have a chance to adopt unhealthy behaviors which can have negative health impacts later in life.

Studies indicate that when you tan before age 30 you increase your risk of getting skin cancer.

Why regulate tanning beds when you cannot regulate tanning in the sun?

Tanning under the sun (natural light) can have the same outcome as tanning beds, with the same risks to health.

We’re able to control the use of tanning beds by keeping youth out, to protect their health and well-being.

As a retailer, this is the first I’m hearing that this law came into effect. Why didn’t I hear about this earlier? Why wasn’t I consulted?

In November 2010, the province issued a news release announcing that it will bring in legislation to restrict youth under 19 from using tanning equipment.

There was both local and national news coverage around the issue. The province also consulted with and heard from the Joint Canadian Tanning Association and with operators in the province, to understand the issues and concerns operators had.

We understand that not all operators are part of an association, which is why we are committed to alerting and educating operators before adopting a strict enforcement regime.

As a retailer, what does this legislation mean to me?

The Tanning Beds Act, which came into effect on May 31, 2011, makes it illegal for you and your employees to sell access to tanning equipment to any person under the age of 19 years.

The Act and Regulations also require you to post warning signs in your business.

Do I have to ask for proof of age?

Yes, if the person is or looks to be under the age of 19, you must ask for photo ID.

If someone under 19 wants to purchase a spray-on tan, am I allowed to sell it to them?

Yes, the Act only bans youth under 19 from using tanning equipment like ultraviolet or other lamps, or equipment containing such lamps, like tanning beds.

Can I sell UV tanning services to youth under 19 if they have parental consent? What if they have a medical condition and a note from their doctor?

No, this law prohibits the sale of UV tanning services to anyone under 19 years of age no matter what the reason. Medical conditions and treatments should be handled by a medical professional.

How will the Act be enforced?

Inspectors with the Department of Health and Wellness will enforce the Act and its regulations.

Am I allowed to employ people who are under 19 years of age?

Yes. Owners should be aware that with youth staff, peer pressure may play a role in whether or not an employee will sell tanning services to other minors.
It will be very important to educate your staff on the law and make sure they understand what the requirements and penalties are. Owners are ultimately responsible for the actions of their staff.

As a retailer, what signs am I required by law to post?

All retailers who sell UV tanning services must post the following warning signs provided by the Department of Health and Wellness:

  • Point of Sale Warning Sign (Schedule A of the Tanning Facilities Regulations). This sign must be displayed within 1 metre of each cash register where UV tanning services may be sold.
  • Health Warning Sign (Schedule B of the Tanning Facilities Regulations). This sign must be displayed within 1 metre of each piece of UV tanning equipment.
  • Door Decal (Schedule C of the Tanning Facilities Regulations). This sign must be placed on the entrance door to the facility, or within 1 metre of the entrance if the door is not visible when the facility is open.

I didn’t receive the right amount of signs. Where can I get more?

Depending on the amount of tanning beds and/or cash registers that you have in your facility, the number of signs that you received in the mail may not be enough.
If you need more, you must contact the Department of Health & Wellness at, 1-800-565-3611, or email environmental.health@gov.ns.ca

I have tanning beds in my facility but I didn’t receive any signs.

As there is no single registry of tanning facilities in Nova Scotia, there may be retailers that were missed. If you have tanning beds in your facility, and you did not receive a package in the mail containing signs, please contact the Department of Health & Wellness at, 1-800-565-3611, or environmental.health@gov.ns.ca as soon as possible.

Are there any other restrictions on the type of advertising/marketing that I can display in my facility?

The Act and the regulations don’t prohibit or regulate how an owner markets or advertises the sale or use of tanning equipment, as long as the owner posts the necessary warning signs in the regulations.

What are the penalties for violating the Tanning Beds Act and Tanning Facilities Regulations?

Any retailer who sells UV tanning services to persons under 19 is guilty of an offence and liable to the following penalties:

  • First Offence - A fine of up to $2,000 and no selling tanning services for 7 days;
  • Second Offence - A fine of up to $5,000 and no selling tanning services for 3-6 months;
  • Third Offence - A fine of up to $10,000 and no selling tanning services for 12-24 months.