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Indoor tanning

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, but it’s also one of the most preventable. Exposure to UV rays – whether from the sun’s rays, tanning beds or sun lamps – increases the risk for non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers. There is no safe way to get a tan. To reduce your risk of getting skin cancer, do not use artificial tanning equipment such as tanning beds or sun lamps.

More on indoor tanning

  • Our position

    The Society is committed to protecting Canadians from the harms of indoor tanning.

    • People under the age of 18 must not be allowed by law to use indoor tanning equipment.
    • Indoor tanning advertising aimed at people under the age of 18 must be banned.
    • Indoor tanning regulations must require UV-emitting devices to be registered, staff to be licensed, and equipment and premises to be inspected regularly.
    • UV-emitting devices must be labelled in a way that clearly explains the health risks.
    • The indoor tanning industry must stop using misleading phrases such as safe, no harmful rays, no adverse effects or similar wording.
  • Indoor tanning legislation in Alberta

    Prohibiting youth use of artificial tanning equipment and regulating artificial tanning industry marketing aimed at youth will help protect Alberta children from the harmful effects of indoor tanning.

    Background

    Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. It is also one of the most preventable. One in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide is a skin cancer – 80-90% of which are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

    Skin cancer is rising at an alarming rate in Canada, with indoor tanning facilities serving as an increasingly frequent source of UV radiation. In 2009, the International Agency of Research on Cancer upgraded artificial UV rays from tanning devices from a probable carcinogen to a known carcinogen. This is the same categorization used for tobacco.

    Children’s skin is more sensitive to UV radiation and as a result, anyone under 18 is at greater risk of developing cancer when exposed to UV radiation. The use of UV-emitting tanning devices before age 35 increases the risk of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) by 59%. Even more alarming, cancer risk increases with the amount of overall hours, sessions and years of tanning bed use. Alberta has the highest rate of indoor tanning in Canada, with those under 18 being the most frequent users. Current evidence suggests about 1 in 5 minors in Alberta tan indoors.

    Our recommendation

    The Canadian Cancer Society is calling on the Government of Alberta to pass legislation regulating the artificial tanning industry. This includes banning youth access to artificial tanning equipment, prohibiting direct and aggressive artificial tanning marketing to school age youth and mandating disclosure of artificial tanning risks displayed on all equipment and promotional materials directed at consumers and the general public.

    Take action! Learn more and email your MLA at takeaction.cancer.ca.

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