Canadian Cancer Society officials were on hand this morning when Premier Dalton McGuinty announced plans to adopt NDP Health Critic, France Gélinas’ Private Member’s bill which aims to ban youth under 18 from using indoor tanning equipment.
“We are thrilled with this decision because it will save lives and reduce the devastating impact of skin cancer,” says Joanne Di Nardo, Senior Manager of Public Issues for the Canadian Cancer Society in Ontario. “We thank Ms. Gélinas for introducing Bill 74 and look forward to working with the government to iron out details and ensure that the legislation is as comprehensive as possible to protect young people from the dangers of indoor tanning.”
The Canadian Cancer Society is pleased that the government has recognized the strong consensus in the scientific community that the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) emitted by indoor tanning equipment causes cancer. In 2009, the world’s foremost authority in identifying the causes of cancer, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified ultraviolet radiation devices, including tanning beds, as known carcinogens. The skin damage caused by UVR is cumulative over a person’s life, meaning the earlier a person starts tanning, the greater their risk of developing skin cancer later in life. In July, an expert review of current research published in the British Medical Journal showed that people who first started using indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 have an 87 per cent increased risk of melanoma skin cancer.
“The Canadian Cancer Society has been on the front lines advocating on this important cancer prevention issue for more than six years,” says Di Nardo. “During this time, our volunteers and staff across the province have met with MPPs, written letters to the editor and brought awareness of the dangers of indoor tanning through campaigns such as the Tan-Free Prom initiative which challenged youth to embrace their “natural glow” by pledging to avoid indoor tanning for their proms.”
With this announcement Ontario is on track to join a growing list of Canadian municipalities and provincial governments who have taken action to regulate the indoor tanning industry, such as the Capital Regional District in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Quebec and others.
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.