Tanning bed operators in Ontario have a new law to follow starting today that aims to prevent anyone under the age of 18 from using the beds. 

Tanning salon operators Mike Jones has been in the business for more than two decades and has been preparing for the new law.

“It’s about time they crack down,” he says. “Other places are offering teens all you can tan for $35 a month. Is that healthy? Absolutely not. You have to be aware of your skin condition.”

The ban is province-wide and the Ontario government hopes it will help reduce the number of skin cancer cases.

“The statistics on the relationship between tanning and skin cancer are pretty sobering,” Health Minister Deb Matthews tells CTV News. “People who begin under age 35 have a 75 per cent higher chance of getting cancer, including melanoma. This is about saving lives.”

The law requires salon operators to request ID from anyone who looks like they're under 25. They will also have to post signs highlighting the ban and dangers of tanning.

Local health departments will be responsible for enforcing the new law and operators who break the rules will face fines up $25,000.

“Our inspection will look at all those individual pieces: do they have records, how can they prove a person’s age, and within a meter of the door there needs to be a sign saying individuals under 18 cannot be provided service,” says Ann Corner with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Six other provinces already have similar laws but the ban is getting a mixed reaction. While some teens say it’s unfair, parents and even some tanning bed users say it’s necessary.

The Joint Canadian Tanning Association was calling for rules that require parental consent but the government says this is a full-out ban – just like prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to minors.

Parental consent won't make a difference.

Local health departments won't be enforcing the law right away, however. They are still waiting for specific directions from the province.

Instead they will be spending the next few months educating salon operators on the new rules.