Indoor tanning danger set to fade for youth as Ontario announces new legislation

07 March 2013

TORONTO -

The Canadian Cancer Society is thrilled that the Government of Ontario is taking action to address an important cancer prevention issue by introducing new government-backed legislation that would ban youth under 18 from indoor tanning.

“We applaud this decision aimed at saving lives and reducing the devastating impact of skin cancer,” says Joanne Di Nardo, Senior Manager of Public Issues for the Canadian Cancer Society in Ontario. “We hope that all members of provincial parliament will act quickly to pass this legislation that has strong support from all parties and Ontarians.”

Indoor tanning bed use before the age of 35 significantly increases the risk of melanoma. Melanoma is one of the most common forms of skin cancer in young Ontarians aged 15 to 29, and is one of the most preventable.

“At 21 years old, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. I’m 22 now and living with the reality that I’ve wrecked my health because I used indoor tanning beds as a teen,” says Kate Neale, a melanoma survivor and Canadian Cancer Society volunteer from Belleville. “Having skin cancer has scarred my body and the disease continues to wreak havoc with my health. I want to stop every teenager from using indoor tanning beds.”

The Society knows that legislation is needed because parental consent and voluntary guidelines do not work. With this announcement Ontario is set to become the sixth provincial jurisdiction to ban youth from using indoor tanning equipment.

“While new legislation has been introduced at Queen’s Park, it’s important to note that it has not been passed into law,” says Di Nardo. “To help make this happen, we encourage people to continue to send letters to their MPPs by visiting takeaction.cancer.ca.”

The Canadian Cancer Society commends NDP Health Critic France Gélinas who has championed this issue. In recent years, Ms. Gélinas twice brought Private Member’s legislation forward at Queen’s Park.

The Society has been on the front lines advocating on this important cancer prevention issue for more than seven years. During this time the organization’s volunteers and staff across the province have met with MPPs, written letters to the editor and brought awareness of the dangers of indoor tanning.

To make progress in the fight against cancer, the disease must be fought from different angles. Putting the issue of youth and indoor tanning on the political radar is one of the many ways the Canadian Cancer Society is fighting back against a disease that touches far too many lives.

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:

Camille Beaubien

Senior Manager, Communications

Phone: 416-323-7181