Indoor tanning for minors should be banned, Canadian Medical Assocation
approved a motion calling for the ban at its annual general meeting last month.
The CMA said it will now lobby government on the resolutions.
Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, CMA President, says this motion did not come out of the blue. The group is supporting a handful of organizations which have been advocating for stronger regulation of the tanning industry, such as the World Health Organization and the Canadian Cancer Society.
In 2009, 75,000 Canadians had skin cancer, with 5000 of these having the most severe form –melanoma. “This is a very significant increase,” said Dr. Turnbull. “We know one of the biggest causes of this cancer is ultraviolet radiation.”
“Evidence suggests that reducing exposure when you’re young can prevent these occurrences,” he said. “Because of that we’re speaking out, and saying that for cosmetic purposes, tanning beds are just not a good idea.”
As well as the proposed ban for youth, a second resolution calls on government to enforce clear signage and labelling on tanning beds and to make the public more aware of the risks associated with tanning.
Rachel Fortin, owner of iTan studios in Orléans, says her tanning studio would not see a big effect on business if the ban were to be passed.
“Only 4% of our clients are under the age of 18 and that is a very small demographic,” Fortin says. Her studio already does not allow clients under 16.
Fortin argues indoor tanning can be beneficial to users.“We do not only focus on the cosmetic purposes of tanning but rather the importance of safe tanning and positive effects like the Vitamin D intake,” Fortin says.
Meanwhile, the International Agency for Research on Cancer says the risk of cancer increases by 75 per cent when using tanning devices before age 30.
Dr. Turnbull says that while there is a lot of information about the dangers of tanning, it can be difficult to get people to change their habits. “Young people feel that they’ll live forever,” he says. “We know in medicine that it’s very hard for people to adjust their behaviour when the impact can be 20 or 30 years away. This is human nature but it’s our job to increasing your risk.”
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