BC Government applauded for tanning legislation

15 October 2012

Vancouver -

The regulations, announced this morning by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, go into effect today. Businesses that do not comply with the regulations will face a $345 fine.

“This healthy public policy is an important step forward in the fight against cancer,” says Barbara Kaminsky, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon. “Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada but it is also one of the most preventable. These regulations will help save lives.”

Research has shown that over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning equipment is the major cause of skin cancer. The use of indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 87 per cent. Melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in youth between the ages of 15 and 29.

“Youth are particularly vulnerable when it comes to tanning and cancer risk,” explains Kaminsky. “These regulations are supported by a vast number of British Columbians who want to protect young people from getting skin cancer later in life.”

Findings from a 2011 survey, commissioned by the Canadian Cancer Society and conducted by Mustel Group Market Research, showed that 75 per cent of BC residents would support legislation banning indoor tanning for youth under 18.

The Canadian Cancer Society has been actively calling for a provincial ban on tanning bed usage for teens under 18 since 2010. That year, the Society’s Tanning Is Out ambassadors began working with high school students to gain their commitment to be tan-free for graduation. In 2011, the initiative went province-wide and more than 3,000 students took the pledge. This year, 42 schools across the province and close to 9,000 students committed to being tan-free.

The provincial government initially made the commitment to introduce regulations last March based on a report drafted by an Indoor Tanning Working Group. The regulations ban youth under the age of 18 from using tanning beds unless they have a medical prescription for a health condition that requires ultraviolet light treatment.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Sheila Dong

Manager, Media Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 604-675-7365