Finally, legislation that protects minors from artificial tanning - The Canadian Cancer Society salutes Minister Bolduc for his leadership

15 May 2012

Montreal, QC -

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) – Quebec Division would like to congratulate Quebec’s Health Minister, Dr. Yves Bolduc, for his leadership and the Quebec government for its decision to ban the sale of tanning services to youths aged under 18 years. Following Nova Scotia and British Columbia, Quebec is the third province to introduce this type of legislation.

“There is no doubt that artificial tanning is a health hazard at any age, but it is especially important to protect young people from a potential deadly disease. The measures announced this morning will contribute to reducing the increasing number of skin cancer cases,” states Suzanne Dubois, Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Quebec (ranging from 22,000 to 35,000 cases per year according to sources).

In February, the CCS and its partners, dermatologists and the Institut national de santé publique (INSPQ), testified before the Committee on Health and Social Services (CSSS). On that occasion, the CCS submitted signatures from 60,000 people in Quebec collected in 2011 and letters of support from 65 groups representing more than 600 organizations. The CSSS has since recognized the need for a legislation to ban the sale of tanning services to youths and underscored the lack of regulatory requirements in the industry.

The CCS is also pleased that the bill calls for the obligation to declare any sale of tannings services to the enterprise registrar, the hiring of dedicated inspectors and the general ban of all kinds of direct advertising or not dedicated to minors. There are over 1,000 active tanning salons in Quebec, and many are found in unusual places: travel agencies, video clubs, convenience stores, and laundromats. “Not to legislate was not a viable option any more and was becoming increasingly harmful for public health. We now ask that the law be quickly adopted before the summer recess,” adds Ms Dubois.

Spring marks the return in force of misleading advertising and promotional campaigns for artificial tanning salons in Publisac distribution bags, high-school newspapers, and graduation albums. Discount coupons and low-price tanning specials are also traditional spring offers. Consequently, the CCS believes that the timing of the bill on artificial tanning is perfect.

However, the CCS would have liked the bill to require tanning salons to obtain a paid permit: “Some services naturally require permits. Just think of the permit needed to sell alcohol here or the permit needed to sell tobacco in other provinces,” states Mélanie Champagne, Coordinator, Public Issues, CCS – Quebec Division. As a follow-up measure, the CCS also recommends a 10% on the purchase of tanning sessions, as in the United States. Not only would such a tax fund prevention campaigns and research on skin cancer, but it would also eliminate the practice of offering artificial tanning sessions for free.”


Facts on artificial tanning

  • Three quarters of melanoma cases among artificial tanning fans aged 18 to 29 can be attributed to the use of tanning beds; exposure to artificial tanning before the age of 35 years increases the risk of developing a melanoma by 75%.
  • Tanning-bed rays are 5 to 15 times stronger than the midday sun.
  • Nearly 250,000 youths (16%) in Quebec population aged 15 to 29 use artificial tanning services 11 times a year, on average, including 160,000 females (22%) and 90,000 males (11.5%).
  • The use of tanning beds by young girls increases with age, more than doubling from age 14 to 15 (rising from 7% to 15%) and more doubling again at age 17 (to 35%).
  • Over a quarter of artificial tanning fans develop tanorexia (tanning addiction) as they become obsessed with tanning.
  • Skin-cancer treatment is not simple and benign: it involves scarring surgery, various treatments, pain, convalescence, and major changes in sun-exposure habits (FPS 60 daily required protection, year-round).

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is the only national charity that supports Canadians with all cancers in communities across the country. No other organization does what we do; we are the voice for Canadians who care about cancer. We fund groundbreaking research, provide a support system for all those affected by cancer and advocate to governments for important social change.

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today.

For more information, please contact:

André Beaulieu

Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, Public Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Quebec Division

Phone: (514) 393-3444