New law prohibits teens from artificial tanning

by Morinville News Staff

With new artificial tanning legislation coming into effect Jan. 1, Alberta businesses can no longer offer or advertise ultraviolet (UV) artificial tanning services to those under the age of 18.

“Protecting teens from the harmful effects of artificial tanning is a small change that can save lives,” said Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health. “Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Alberta. This step will help start conversations about the unnecessary risks of UV tanning.”

Angeline Webb of the Canadian Cancer Society says skin cancer is highly preventable. “The implementation of the Skin Cancer Prevention (Artificial Tanning) Act is an important step in reducing skin cancer rates in Alberta by preventing youth exposure to harmful artificial UV radiation.”

Melanoma rates have increased in Alberta in recent years. In 2014, there were 665 new cases of melanoma and 64 deaths due to the disease. This is a rise in the number of cases from 2012, when there were 599 new cases of melanoma and 72 deaths.

The government notes the use of UV tanning equipment before the age 35 increases the risk of melanoma by nearly 60 per cent. Additionally, skin cancer accounts for more than one-third of all new cancer cases in Alberta, and UV radiation exposure accounts for about 82 per cent of melanoma.

Tanning businesses are required to post health warnings and age restrictions and unsupervised artificial tanning equipment is no longer allowed in public places.

The province says the new legislation will be enforced by Alberta Health Services.

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