The Canadian Cancer Society applauds BC Government for announcement to ban tanning beds for youth under 18

20 March 2012

Vancouver -

Vancouver – The Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon, applauds the announcement made today 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.  Further, the incidence rates of melanoma skin cancer are increasing each year. 

Parental consent does not work:  the Canadian Cancer Society has been calling on the BC 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

The local mobilization of Tanning is Out ambassadors across BC played a role in prompting the BC government to ban teens under 18 from using tanning beds.Many people took this issue to heart and into the schools. 

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 during the spring of 2011.  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. 

The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join the fight! Go to fightback.ca to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer, visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

Please note that the Canadian Cancer Society BC and Yukon CEO, Barbara Kaminsky and Public Issues Director, Kathryn Seely are available for interview.

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