The Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Dermatology Association continue to lobby the Saskatchewan government for legislation that will ban individuals under the age of 18 from using tanning beds.
The Association contends that stronger tanning beds can emit up to 15 times the amount of radiation when compared to the midday sun. They also contend that use of this equipment before the age of 35 can increase the risk of melanoma by 59%. However after meeting with government officials in Regina there doesn’t appear to be support for such a ban.
Saskatchewan is one of only three provinces, Alberta and Manitoba being the others, to not have a ban in place for underage use of tanning beds. Health Minister Dustin Duncan has stated that they will monitor other jurisdictions, but he doesn’t like the idea of placing any prohibition on underage tanning bed use. Mirroring many detractors of the legislation who say that there is no regulation that prevents someone from natural overexposure, Minister Duncan noted that, “Overexposure to the sun could have the same effect.”
Canadian Cancer Society spokeswoman Donna Pasiechnik expressed some confusion over the government’s inaction. She said, “We don’t understand why the Saskatchewan government is so hesitant to move and protect young people from a known carcinogen when seven other provinces have done so.” She also pointed to a survey as an indication of support for such a ban. The survey showed that 85% of 516 adults in the province supported restricting advertising by tannings services which targeted the young.
According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, the following proportions of youth report indoor tanning—
- 13% of all high school students.
- 21% of high school girls.
- 32% of girls in the 12th grade.
- 29% of white high school girls.