Federal private member’s bill seeks ban on indoor tanning for under-18s

15 December 2011

Ottawa -

The Canadian Cancer Society applauds the Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake for his initiative to crack down on the tanning industry by seeking a ban on indoor tanning for children and youth under the age of 18.

On December 15th, 2011, Federal MP James Bezan tabled a private member’s bill which would make it illegal for under-18s to use tanning salons and warn users of the dangers of using tanning beds. Private members’ bills are bills introduced in the House of Commons by individual Members of Parliament.

“We are pleased to see a Member of Parliament take this issue seriously,” says Dan Demers, Director, Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society. “Ultraviolet radiation is the primary cause of skin cancer and the Society has advocated relentlessly to limit access to tanning beds, which are extremely harmful, especially to young people.”

The proposed bill contains several mandatory rules that tanning establishments would be legally required to follow. These include a ban on the use of tanning beds by youth under 18, as well as clear warning labels visible on the outside of tanning beds that list the risks associated with their use. In addition, warning signs must also be posted in the establishment wherever access to tanning equipment is provided.

“This Bill is definitely a good first step,” continues Demers. “We call on all Parliamentarians to support this important initiative that will protect the health of young Canadians across the country. We hope it will lead to national legislation to regulate this industry, which continues to make false claims that tanning isn’t dangerous.”

There are currently bans on the use of tanning beds for youth under the age of 19 in Nova Scotia and for those under the age of 18 in the city of Victoria. A few provinces also have guidelines to regulate the tanning industry but, in all cases, they are only voluntary. MP Bezan’s proposed bill will create a federal law to better regulate the tanning industry and would establish consistent regulations for all provinces and territories. Internationally, France, Scotland, England, parts of Australia and the state of California are among the jurisdictions that have banned the use of tanning beds for under-18s.

World renowned cancer research experts have determined there is a direct link between using indoor tanning equipment and developing skin cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has listed UV radiation (including that emitted by tanning devices) in Group 1 of its classification list, meaning it is known to cause cancer in humans.

In 2011, 5,500 Canadians were expected to be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and about 950 died from the disease. Melanoma incidence rates are increasing each year. Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among Canadians, with 74,100 expected cases in 2011 and 270 expected deaths.

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:

Christine Harminc

Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 416 934-5340