06/30/2012 12:03 EDT | Updated 08/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Prince Edward Island to regulate use of tanning beds for people under 18

CHARLOTTETOWN - The government of Prince Edward Island is set to regulate tanning for people under 18.

The provincial government issued guidelines in December, saying they were looking for 100 per cent compliance.

The province has the highest rate of melanoma in Canada.

In a release, health minister Doug Currie said guideline compliance has been an issue.

"When I said 100 per cent, I meant 100 per cent compliance, anything less is simply not good enough," Currie said.

The guidelines restricted people under the age of 18 from using tanning beds and also required operators to display mandatory health warnings.

Thirty tanning salon owners were audited across the province this past spring, and only 44 per cent actually recorded their clients' ages.

In 2009, the World Health Organization said using tanning devices earlier than age 30 increases the risk of cancer by 45 per cent.

A release says low levels of compliance with the province's guidelines led to Friday's announcement that regulations are on the way.

"We know ultraviolet radiation exposure can lead to skin aging and skin cancer," Heather Morrison, chief public health officer for the province, said in a release.

"We need to work together to ensure the public is more informed on the risks associated with tanning beds and we need to protect those who are at highest risk of cancer."

A review and update of radiation safety regulations, including tanning, is scheduled for this summer and fall.

Nova Scotia banned people under the age of 19 from tanning last year and British Columbia plans to introduce legislation to ban people under the age of 18 this fall.