Canada Moves to Ban Indoor Tanning in Kids Under 18
The Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) has launched a campaign called “Indoor Tanning is Out” to educate Canadians about the health dangers of using indoor tanning beds. One of the main goals of the campaign is to convince Parliament to ban the use of indoor tanning beds by people younger than 18, and the CDA has recruited young skin cancer survivors to help them with their cause.
In July 2009, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer issued a report in which it moved tanning beds (sunbeds) into the highest cancer risk category, “carcinogenic to humans.” The reason for the reclassification is sobering: Use of indoor tanning beds before the age of 30 has been associated with an increased risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, by 75 percent.
Following the WHO announcement, lawmakers in the United Kingdom initiated efforts to ban teenagers from using tanning beds. The United States, however, has thus far only decided to consider stricter warnings to consumers about the use of tanning beds and the risk of cancer. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that minors attend no more than three tanning sessions during their first week of indoor tanning. However, this is merely a recommendation, and there are no laws prohibiting minors from choosing more sessions.
The Canadian Dermatology Association is taking a hard stand to protect the public against the risk of skin cancer associated with indoor tanning. One way they are getting out the message to young people—and young women in particular—is through the personal stories of five young women who used indoor tanning beds and now find themselves battling skin cancer. The stories of all the women, each of whom started using tanning beds when they were 20 or younger, are available on the CDA website. Each woman is also portrayed in a poster.
The CDA has also prepared a TV and radio public service announcement, “Indoor Tanning is Out,” that explains how the ultraviolet (UV) rays from tanning beds can be up to 10 to 15 times higher than those that radiate from the midday sun. The PSA features young women from teens to young professionals who talk about the dangers of indoor tanning. The announcement, which can also be accessed from the CDA website, will run from February through June. Soon to be added to the effort is a form letter available on the website that the public can send to Parliament asking their MP to support a ban on indoor tanning for people younger than 18.
The move by Canada to ban indoor tanning bed use by young people and to also educate the general public about the risk of skin cancer associated with indoor tanning bed us is a positive one. Getting young people to listen to the message is a challenge, and one that the Canadian Dermatology Association is taking on with gusto.
Canadian Dermatology Association