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Letter to the Editor

01 February 2011

Charlottetown -

Re: Commercial tanning salons not the culprit (letter of the day)

The Canadian Cancer Society agrees with the Joint Canadian Tanning Association (JCTA) that any consideration being given to banning the use of tanning salons by young people should be based on strong scientific facts. After careful review of the evidence by our experts, here are the facts:

  • World renowned cancer research experts have determined there is a direct link between using indoor tanning equipment and skin cancer. No studies have proved otherwise.
  • In 2009, the World Health Organization upgraded the classification of UV-emitting devices, including commercial tanning beds, from something that probably causes cancer to something that we know causes cancer.
  • Research done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shows that being exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases your risk of melanoma.
  • There is no safe way to get a tan. Any type and amount of exposure to UV rays, including from commercial tanning beds, can be harmful. UV rays damage the skin which can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.
  • Melanoma skin cancer rates are increasing each year. In 2010, 5,300 Canadians were expected to be diagnosed with melanoma and about 920 died from the disease.
  • Despite being based on small numbers, the PEI melanoma incidence rate is higher than the national average. For females, it’s 200 per cent higher – which is double the national average – and for men it’s 27 per cent higher. If females make up 75 per cent of commercial tanning customers as the JCTA says in its letter, then the link between the melanoma incidence rate in PEI and commercial indoor tanning becomes, unfortunately, all too clear.

With the health of Islanders as our primary concern and based on these solid scientific facts and statistics, the Canadian Cancer Society, PEI Division will continue to call on our government to bring in legislation banning the use of tanning beds by anyone under the age of 18.

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:

Lori Barker

Executive Director

Phone: 902-566-4007