Study confirms need for provincial legislation
TORONTO, Oct. 7 /CNW/ - Results of a study released today by the Canadian
Cancer Society in Ontario show that artificial tanning facilities in Toronto
are not following Health Canada's voluntary safety guidelines, including those
related to the protection of under-aged youth and the identification of
individuals at greater risk of developing skin cancer. The study results
confirm the need for provincial legislation regulating the artificial tanning
For more than two years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been calling on
the Ontario government to ban the use of artificial tanning equipment by youth
under 18 because youth exposed to ultraviolet radiation, emitted from both the
sun and artificial tanning equipment, are at risk of developing skin cancer
now and later in life. Melanoma skin cancer is the second most common cancer
among young people aged 15 to 34.
"The study clearly shows that we need provincial legislation to protect
youth as we found that artificial tanning facilities are permitting under-aged
youth to use artificial tanning equipment despite voluntary guidelines
recommending against it," says Rowena Pinto, Senior Director, Public Affairs,
Ontario Division, Canadian Cancer Society.
The Society's position on artificial tanning equipment is in line with
the World Health Organization's 2005 recommendation that urged countries
worldwide to ban the use of artificial tanning equipment by youth under 18
because of the impact it has on the development of skin cancer.
Conducted by marketing research company Youthography, the study looked at
the practices of 79 tanning facilities in Toronto to determine whether they
were complying with Health Canada's voluntary guidelines. The voluntary
guidelines were designed to help tanning facility owners better protect
- 96% of all personnel operating the tanning facilities did not
communicate with the researchers about Health Canada's tanning safety
- 60% of tanning facilities did not ask the age of minor researchers.
- 60% of tanning facilities visited did not identify, neither verbally
or through a skin assessment survey, that the researcher had type I
skin that burns and never tans.
- 99% of tanning facilities did not recommend against tanning for skin
type I researchers.
- Only 12% of facilities visited were reported to have the Health
Canada voluntary guidelines posted in an area that could be seen by
Calls for Government Action:
The results of the study demonstrate that self-regulation of the
artificial tanning industry is not working. The Canadian Cancer Society
strengthens its call to the Government of Ontario to ban youth under 18 from
using artificial tanning equipment and also to:
- Develop regulations that require staff operating artificial tanning
equipment to undergo training that would ensure they effectively
identify people whose skin type puts them at greater risk of skin
- Develop and maintain a registry of artificial tanning equipment in
the province, to track its usage and enforce legislation. This
recommendation is also in line with the World Health Organization's
call on countries to formulate and enforce laws to better control the
use of artificial tanning equipment.
- Prohibit the marketing of artificial tanning targeting youth.
- Require that signage be placed in clear view of each bed clearly
outlining the health risks of artificial tanning.
"In the course of conducting our study, we found it was extremely
difficult to determine how many tanning facilities exist in Toronto," says
Pinto. "As artificial tanning equipment emits a known human carcinogen, it is
imperative that our government and public health officials are aware of where
such equipment exists and who is operating it."
In addition to the Canadian Cancer Society, the study results are a
reason for concern for other organizations.
"It's unfortunate that a tan is still considered desirable and
attractive, when in fact ultraviolet radiation exposure damages the skin and
increases the risk of skin cancer and prematurely aged skin," says Dr. Cheryl
Rosen, National Director, Sun Awareness Program, Canadian Dermatology
Association. "A ban on youth under 18 from using artificial tanning equipment
will not only prevent skin cancer, but will also reduce the emotional and
physical stress of undergoing skin cancer treatment and the disfiguring scars
that may occur."
About the Study:
The study was conducted in December of 2007 with results analyzed during
the first quarter of 2008. Three different types of researchers visited 79
artificial tanning facilities across Toronto: under-aged youth; fair-skinned;
and olive-skinned. Researchers were not told the study was being conducted by
the Canadian Cancer Society in order to keep researcher reported results
un-biased. At no point during the study were researchers exposed to
ultraviolet radiation. The study has a confidence interval of 95% (19 times
out of 20) very strong at +/-2.9%.
About the Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of
volunteers whose mission is the eradication cancer and the enhancement of the
quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about
cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual
Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.
For further information:
For further information: or to book an interview opportunity, please
contact: Jamie Jo Alton, (416) 848-1370; Amanda Miehm, (416) 586-1906