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Canadian Paediatric Society

Keep teens out of tanning studios

Feb 3 2012

OTTAWA—Children and youth under 18 years of age should be banned from using commercial indoor tanning facilities, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) recommends in a position statement published today.

The CPS is calling for laws to keep children and youth out of tanning facilities. Currently, Nova Scotia and southern Vancouver Island are the only Canadian jurisdictions with such legislation. 

“This is a serious cancer risk, and children and adolescents are not fully aware of the risks they are taking when they step into a tanning bed,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, CPS President-Elect and co-author of the new statement. “The intensity of rays from tanning beds is 10 to 15 times stronger than the noon sun. This means that people who spend 10 minutes in a tanning bed walk away with exposure similar to a full day at a beach or lake.”

Twenty-five per cent of Canadian youth between 13 and 19 years have used a tanning salon. Research shows that indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases a person’s risk for developing the most serious form of skin cancer by 75 per cent. And the damage caused by current tanning trends will take years to fully understand because some skin cancers only appear decades after the damage has occurred.

“Damage to the skin is cumulative,” said Dr. Stanwick. “So the earlier you start tanning, the more you are exposed to cancer-causing ultraviolet rays and the greater your risk for skin cancer.”

The World Health Organization, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Dermatology Association, the Canadian Cancer Society, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all support legislation that would ban the use of artificial tanning devices by children and teens.

To access the full CPS position statement, visit: Banning children and youth younger than 18 years of age from commercial tanning facilities.

About the Canadian Paediatric Society

The Canadian Paediatric Society is a national advocacy association that promotes the health needs of children and youth. Founded in 1922, the CPS represents more than 3,000 paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists and other child health professionals across Canada.

Last updated: Oct 5 2012