Students campaign to end teen tanning

29 February 2012

Vancouver -

The Canadian Cancer Society BC & Yukon launched its 2nd annual Tan Free Grad Challenge, and secondary school students across BC are set to fight back against cancer by encouraging their classmates to forego the “prom tan”, and instead, rock it in the skin they’re in.

“It is extremely important to increase awareness about the dangers of tanning” says Kylie Nabata, student and Tan Free Grad Leader at Handsworth Secondary in North Vancouver. “If it means preventing even one of my classmates from developing skin cancer throughout their life, I consider this campaign a worthy cause”.

Melanoma skin cancer – the most severe form of skin cancer – is the third most common form of cancer for people between the ages of 15 and 29. In an effort to prevent skin cancer, grade 12 students are leading the Tan Free Grad by educating their peers on the dangers of Ultraviolet radiation from both the sun and indoor tanning equipment and collecting pledges from fellow students to be tan-free for their graduation.

“I am participating in Tan Free Grad because I believe that the members of my school's student body should know that there is no safe way to get a tan” says Julia Ji, student and Tan Free Grad Leader at Windermere Community School in Vancouver. “Despite the surprisingly common belief that indoor tanning is harmless, it is definitively linked to skin cancer”.

“Last year, over 3,000 students took the pledge to be tan-free for prom and graduation” says Brittney Parks, Health Promotion Coordinator at the Canadian Cancer Society.  “We are confident this number will increase significantly, as we are engaging over 30 schools throughout the province in 2012”.

In addition to the Challenge, the Society is advocating to the BC government to follow the lead of Nova Scotia and Southern Vancouver Island by banning indoor tanning for youth under 18—a recommendation that is shared by leading health organizations such the World Health Organization, the BC Medical Association, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Canadian Dermatology Association, the Medical Health Officers of BC and the BC Centre for Disease Control.  

A recent poll commissioned by the Society shows that three-quarters of British Columbians would support restricting youth access to indoor tanning equipment. Make your voice heard. The Society has created a special web-link at myonething.ca where BC residents can write a letter to the Health Minister, telling him that legislation prohibiting indoor tanning for those under 18 is not directive, but rather health protective.

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:

Gina Ungaro

Media Contact

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 604-675-7335