Canadian Cancer Society attacks ‘tanned-skin-is-fashionable’ message aimed at young women

28 April 2013

Toronto -

The Canadian Cancer Society today took aim at the tanning industry message to young women that tanned skin is fashionable with the launch of a video that starkly contrasts the health risks of indoor tanning.

The #TANBEDBAN video is part of an online campaign that urges Ontarians to join the movement calling for a ban on indoor tanning for youth under 18. Supporters can take action by visiting takeaction.cancer.ca to send a message to MPPs and spread the word over Twitter using the hashtag #TANBEDBAN.

“We in Ontario were the first in Canada to call for a ban on indoor tanning for youth under 18,” says Joanne Di Nardo, Sr. Manager, Public Issues. “It’s unconscionable that Ontario now lags behind five other provinces in passing a law that protects the health of our young people.”

The Skin Cancer Prevention Act was introduced by the Ontario government in March 2013. While the bill has all-party support, it has yet to pass.

“We need a surge of public support to get the bill passed,” says Di Nardo. “We hope the video is a wake-up call that provokes online supporters to take action so MPPs hear loud and clear —Ontarians want a ban.”

British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island have all passed legislation banning indoor tanning for youth. In Ontario, several municipalities have bans in place including Oakville, Peel Region and Belleville.

With contributions from fashion video editors, the video contrasts the tanning industry message that tanned skin is healthy and fashionable with the health risks such as cancer, aging and scars.

As part of its goal to raise awareness among young women about the dangers of indoor tanning, the Society also challenges high school students to campaign for a Tan-Free Grad in their schools this spring.

Key Facts

  • Indoor tanning causes cancer. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) emitted by indoor tanning equipment is a known human carcinogen. Indoor tanning equipment can emit UVR at levels that are five times stronger than the mid-day summer sun.
  • Melanoma skin cancer is one of the most common forms of skin cancer in Ontarians aged 15-29 and is one of the most preventable.
  • Indoor tanning before the age of 35 significantly increases a person’s risk of melanoma.
  • In July 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer reclassified indoor tanning devices to the highest cancer risk category, making a definitive link between tanning devices and cancer risk.
  • Since 2005, the World Health Organization has called on countries to place restrictions on the use of indoor tanning equipment by children under the age of 18.

Related information 

For 75 years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY: 1-866-786-3934).

For more information, please contact:

Justin Edmonstone

Public Affairs

Canadian Cancer Society

Ontario Division

Phone: 416-323-7026