Cancer Society applauds BC government to ban tanning beds for youth under 18

Michael de Jong, to restrict access to tanning beds for young people under the age of 18.

Vancouver – The Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon, applauds the announcement made recently by the Honourable Health Minister, Michael de Jong, to restrict access to tanning beds for young people under the age of 18. The regulation is anticipated to take effect this fall.

“This is another step forward in cancer prevention,” said Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon, CEO Barbara Kaminsky. “The decision to introduce this healthy public policy has the support of the majority of British Columbians, and will help protect young people from getting skin cancer later in life.”

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada and over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning equipment is the major cause of skin cancer. The good news is that skin cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers.

Youth are particularly vulnerable: the use of indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75 per cent.  Melanoma skin cancer – the most serious form of skin cancer – is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in youth between the ages of 15 and 29. Canadian Cancer Society has been calling on the B.C. government to implement province-wide legislation banning those under the age of 18 from using artificial tanning equipment because:

• indoor tanning is especially harmful to young people

• public education alone is not working

• voluntary guidelines are not working

• parental consent does not work

Canadian Cancer Society health promotion coordinators worked with local youth volunteers in 18 high schools in 2011 to develop and implement the Tanning is Out campaign. Over 3,000 grade 12 students pledged to be tan-free for prom or graduation in 2011 and the Canadian Cancer Society is confident the number of students who pledge to be tan-free in 2012 will be much higher.