VICTORIA - Changes to a provincial regulation banning youth under the age of 18 from ultraviolet (UV) tanning are now in force to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer later in life.
Effective Oct. 15, 2012, businesses that fail to post the required sign informing the public of the ban, or who violate the ban by unlawfully permitting minors to use their indoor tanning equipment without a prescription, will face a fine of $345 for each offence.
Under the Public Health Act, changes to the provincial regulated activities regulation ban the use of commercial UV indoor tanning beds by youth under the age of 18, unless they have a medical prescription for a condition such as psoriasis that requires ultraviolet light treatment. Today's announcement follows the government's commitment in March to ban youth from indoor tanning.
The March 20, 2012, tanning bed ban announcement followed the release of a report compiled by an Indoor Tanning Working Group. The report was issued to provide recommendations and options.
The working group was established following the Capital Regional District's 2011 bylaw that banned minors under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning beds. A number of requests for a provincewide ban were received, including a resolution from the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
The report released by the Indoor Tanning Working Group included the recommendation of implementing a ban for youth under the age of 18 years from using commercial UV indoor tanning equipment without a medical prescription.
The World Health Organization has found that indoor tanning before the age of 35 raises the risk of melanoma by 75 per cent. Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer. In Canada, the incidence rates of melanoma are rising every year. Overall, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada, and yet it is also one of the most preventable.
In 2012, the BC Cancer Agency estimates that 966 British Columbians will be diagnosed with melanoma and 150 will die of it. One in 69 females and one in 56 males is expected to develop melanoma during their lifetime. One in 413 females and one in 284 males is expected to die of melanoma.
Minister of Health, Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid -
"We are committed to fighting the battle against cancer in all its forms, including skin cancer. Beginning October 15, young people under the age of 18 will be banned from tanning beds to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer later in life."
Kathleen Barnard, Save Your Skin Foundation -
"As a stage four melanoma survivor, I am living proof of the dangers of tanning as a young person. There are not many of us still alive. That's why I applaud this regulation. If there is anything we can do to prevent skin cancer later in life, we can save hundreds of families from being ripped apart by this disease."Adele Green, Youth Against Cancer and former Oak Bay High school student-
"Compared to the risk of cancer, a tan is not worth the risk. Many young people use tan beds before school prom, as a way to get a base tan or because they think it looks good. I'm standing up to my peer group and saying they don't need to use indoor tanning beds. I have been fighting back against cancer and fighting for the future of youth for the past six years."
Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon, CEO Barbara Kaminsky-
"The decision to introduce this regulation is an important step forward in cancer prevention and one that is supported by the vast majority of British Columbians. By eliminating exposure to this known carcinogen at a young age, we can help prevent cancer."
- Changes to the provincial regulated activities regulation ban minors from using tanning equipment - and operators must not allow them to use it - unless the minor has a prescription from a physician. Also, tanning bed facilities must display a government-approved sign in a clearly visible location, advising staff and customers about the under-18 tanning ban.
- Tanning establishments found violating these rules are subject to a fine of $345 for each offence.
- Approximately one in three British Columbians will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime.
- Estimated new cancer diagnoses in British Columbia for 2012: 23,933.
Estimated new cancer diagnoses for 2025: 4,056.
Despite these statistics, which are a result of our increasing and aging population and are being seen worldwide, B.C. has some of the most favourable outcomes in North America.
- In 2004, the total economic burden of skin cancer in Canada was estimated to be $532 million - the majority being attributable to melanoma (83.4 per cent), and the balance distributed between basal cell carcinoma (9.1 per cent) and squamous cell carcinoma (7.5 per cent).
- Of the $532 million, $66 million (12.4 per cent) is associated with direct costs and $466 million (87.6 per cent) with indirect costs.
- Direct costs include primary care, day surgery and hospital care.
- Indirect costs include lost productive time from mortality and morbidity.
For More information:
On melanoma and its causes, treatment and symptoms, visit: www.healthlinkbc.ca
Canadian Cancer Statistics 2011 report from the Canadian Cancer Society: www.cancer.ca
B.C.'s Indoor Tanning Working Group report: www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/index.html
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)