Letters to the Editor

Tanning bed rules will save lives

The Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon, supports and applauds the B.C. government for putting regulations in place to ban youth under 18 from using tanning beds.

The regulations, announced recently by B.C. Minister of Health Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, are now in effect. Businesses that do not comply with the regulations will face a $345 fine.

Research has shown that over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning equipment is the major cause of skin cancer. The use of indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 87 per cent. Melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in youth between the ages of 15 and 29.

Youth are particularly vulnerable when it comes to tanning and cancer risk. These regulations are supported by a vast number of British Columbians who want to protect young people from getting skin cancer later in life.

Findings from a 2011 survey, commissioned by the Canadian Cancer Society and conducted by Mustel Group Market Research, showed that 75 per cent of B.C. residents would support legislation banning indoor tanning for youth under 18.

The Canadian Cancer Society has been actively calling for a provincial ban on tanning bed usage for teens under 18 since 2010. The provincial government initially made the commitment to introduce regulations last March based on a report drafted by an Indoor Tanning Working Group. The regulations ban youth under the age of 18 from using tanning beds unless they have a medical prescription for a health condition that requires ultraviolet light treatment.

This healthy public policy is an important step forward in the fight against cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada but it is also one of the most preventable. These regulations will help save lives.

 

Barbara Kaminsky, CEO

Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon

 

 

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