VANCOUVER – The Province today announced that it will ban commercial
tanning bed use by young people under the age of 18 to reduce the
chances of developing skin cancer later in life.
“Unfortunately, cancer affects thousands of British Columbian
families with one in three people expected to develop some form of
cancer – such as skin cancer like melanoma – in their lifetime,” said
Health Minister Michael de Jong. “After a great deal of consideration
of clinical evidence, commissioning a report to provide options and
listening to what local governments had to say at the Union of B.C.
Municipalities Convention last year, government has decided to
restrict access to tanning beds for young people under the age of
Studies have shown 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.
“As a stage four melanoma survivor, I am living proof of the dangers
of tanning as a young person,” said Kathleen Barnard, founder of Save
Your Skin Foundation. “I welcome today’s announcement to ban people
under 18 from tanning beds as anything we can do to prevent skin
cancer later in life is good news for the patients who go through
treatment and the hundreds of families that are ripped apart by this
potentially deadly disease.”
“This is another step forward in cancer prevention,” said Canadian
Cancer Society, BC and Yukon, CEO Barbara Kaminsky. “This decision to
introduce this public policy is both evidence-based and has the
support of the majority of British Columbians.”
“Skin cancer is a deadly disease and it’s important that young people
are aware of the risks associated with UV rays,” said City of Surrey
councillor Mary Martin, chair of the city’s Community Health Programs
Committee. “We know that tanning bed usage has increased over the
past few decades and the new provincewide approach to regulation will
ensure consistency among all local governments.”
“As the first jurisdiction in B.C. to pass a bylaw banning youth
under the age of 18 from using commercial tanning beds, I would like
to congratulate the Province on taking up this initiative,” said
Capital Regional District vice chair mayor Graham Hill. “It is the
right thing to do as we try to reduce cancer rates wherever
“Getting a tan might be a popular option among many young people, but
research has shown that it can result in potentially deadly skin
cancers later in life,” said Dr. Andy Coldman, BC Cancer Agency vice-
president, population oncology. “Restricting access to tanning beds
for youth will help reduce the risk of these cancers later in life,
and so I applaud today’s decision by the provincial government.”
The proposed regulation under the Public Health Act will ban the use
of commercial indoor tanning beds by youth under the age of 18,
unless they have a medical prescription. It is anticipated to take
effect fall 2012.
The announcement follows the release of a report compiled by an
Indoor Tanning Working Group that was put together at the request of
the Health Minister in fall 2011 to provide recommendations and
The working group was established following the introduction of a
bylaw that banned minors under the age of 18 from using indoor
tanning beds by the Capital Regional District in Victoria, as well as
a subsequent number of requests for a provincewide ban.
The report included the recommendation of implementing a ban for
youth under the age of 18 years from using commercial indoor tanning
equipment without a medical prescription.
The report is available online at:
* Approximately one in three British Columbians will develop some
form of cancer in their lifetime.
* Estimated new cancer diagnoses in British Columbia for 2012:
Estimated new cancer diagnoses for 2025: 34,056.
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.
* According to 2010 estimates in the Canadian Cancer Society’s
Canadian Cancer Statistics report, “mortality rates for all cancers
combined are lowest in B.C.”
* 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
* 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.
o Direct costs include primary care, day surgery and hospital care.
o Indirect costs include lost productive time from mortality and
For More information:
* On melanoma and its causes, treatment and symptoms, visit:
* The report Canadian Cancer Statistics 2011 from the Canadian Cancer
* The report from the B.C. Tanning Working Group: