Used properly, tanning beds are not the health hazards that proposed provincial legislation makes them out to be, one former longtime bed owner claims.

“I think what it is — and I’ve had experience with this myself — the instructions given are not listened to by younger people and they tend to get greedy," said Laura Ash, owner of Hair Affair in Stewiacke, one of the first in the area to install tanning beds in her hair salon about 25 years ago.

“The result of that is they burn, which is not a good thing for anybody.”

Although Ash removed her beds about a year ago because of rising insurance costs and a saturated market, she never had any health concerns related to their use, provided it was done in moderation and according to instructions.

Health Promotion and Protection Minister Maureen MacDonald introduced legislation this week that would ban those under age 19 from using tanning beds at businesses throughout Nova Scotia.

Citing recommendations from Doctors Nova Scotia and other health groups about the dangers of tanning beds, MacDonald also said the World Health Organization has classified the ultraviolet light from tanning beds as a carcinogen.

“If used properly ... I don’t think there is an issue,” Ash said. “It’s another waste of money, if you ask me. Just like the (long) gun legislation. But that’s my personal opinion.”

Judy Lynds, manager of East End Mini Mart in Truro, said she agrees with the proposed legislation, slated to go into effect next year.

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