Gateway Gazette

Government Protects Youth from Skin Cancer

Tanning boothsThe Alberta government has introduced new legislation that bans artificial tanning businesses from providing services to minors.

“The Skin Cancer Prevention Act is a major step forward in the effort to reduce rates of melanoma in our province. It includes several strong measures that will reduce young people’s chances of getting skin cancer at some point in their life.”

~ Stephen Mandel, Minister of Health

Bill 22, the Skin Cancer Prevention Act will:

  • ban businesses from selling or providing artificial tanning services to minors
  • prohibit advertising of artificial tanning directed to minors;
  • mandate health warnings in artificial tanning facilities and on advertising materials; and
  • prohibit unsupervised, self-service artificial tanning equipment in public places.

“The evidence is clear that people who use tanning equipment dramatically increase their risk of developing melanoma skin cancer at some point in their lives, and this is especially true for youth. From a public health perspective, this legislation will significantly protect young people from the risks of artificial tanning.”

~ Dr. James Talbot, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health

In 2012, 599 Albertans were diagnosed with melanoma and 72 died from this preventable disease. Melanoma skin cancer rates are still on the rise in Alberta: 700 new cases are expected in 2017.

“Despite being highly preventable, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada. Too many Alberta teens are put at a significantly higher risk of developing melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — by using indoor tanning equipment. By introducing policy to restrict youth access to indoor tanning equipment, the Government of Alberta is taking an important step in protecting youth from undue cancer risk.”

~ Sarah Hawkins, Canadian Cancer Society

Nine Canadian jurisdictions already have legislation restricting minors from using artificial tanning equipment. Bill 22 does not include spray tanning, as it does not emit ultraviolet radiation.

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