MONTREAL, Feb. 20, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS)
appeared today before the Committee on Health and Social Services,
which had a mandate to study its petition on skin cancer and artificial
tanning. The CCS maintains that the unrestricted sale of artificial
tanning services and their easy access for young and vulnerable clients
are incompatible with their extremely harmful health consequences.
Like the dermatologists of the Institut national de santé publique
(INSPQ), the CCS is demanding immediate government action to regulate
the tanning industry in Québec. The CCS appeared before the committee
holding the signatures of 60,000 Quebecers as well as letters of
support from 65 groups representing more than 500 organizations. This
support comes from public health agencies, women's groups, youth
organizations, human rights advocacy groups and medical associations.
They are all demanding that children and adolescents be prevented from
having access to tanning equipment.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and its increase is
greatest among young people in Québec. Currently, there is no
legislation regulating the tanning salon industry, which is selling a
carcinogenic service. "It's absurd! This industry is recruiting its
very young clients using misleading messages," emphasizes Mélanie
Champagne, Policy Analyst in charge of the UV campaign for CCS - Québec
Division. "It puts forth unfounded health claims (vitamin D, "base tan"
before travelling, health benefits, etc.). There are more than 1,000
tanning salons operating in Québec, and many are in unusual places:
travel agencies, video stores, convenience stores or laundromats."
"We speak regularly to young women fighting melanoma, such as Annie
Gloutney, who testified before the parliamentary committee along with
the CCS. This mother of two young children has been hit full force with
a recurrent cancer, which could have been avoided if a law had been put
in place for her when she was 15 years old," said Ms. Champagne.
Because three-quarters of the cases of melanoma diagnosed in 18- to
29-year-olds among clients of tanning salons are attributable to the
use of tanning beds, and because exposure to artificial tanning before
the age of 35 increases the risk of developing a melanoma by 75%, the
signatories of the petition, the CCS and its allies are once again
urging the government:
To prohibit the sale of artificial tanning services to youth under the
age of 18.
To set up a Quebec register of all businesses that provide artificial
tanning services, so as to facilitate inspection work and enforce the
To restrict the marketing practices of tanning salons by prohibiting
misleading advertising and the targeting of young people, such as
through coupons in school agendas or prom-night promotions.
The CCS also proposes that the Québec government introduce a 10% tax per
session on artificial tanning services, as is the case throughout the
United States, and the prohibition of package deals (2 for 1, loyalty
cards, etc.), as is done for tobacco products.
Skin cancer is by far the most common form of cancer. Over the last 15
years, the number of cases of melanoma in Quebec has doubled. In 2009,
the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified
tanning beds in the highest risk group known to cause cancer in humans,
alongside cigarettes and asbestos.
In Canada, the use of tanning beds is prohibited among youth under the
age of 19 in Nova Scotia and for those under the age of 18 in the
district of Victoria. Elsewhere in the world, minors are banned from
tanning salons in Australia, in several countries in Europe, and in
some parts of the United States. Brazil eliminated these businesses
completely in 2009, and the Australian province of New South Wales will
do the same in 2014.
"The scientific and social consensus is there: a law on artificial
tanning is a necessity, and is desired by the population. Mr. Charest
and Mr. Bolduc have in their hands all the cards needed to enact
legislation to this end and to prevent many skin cancers," concludes
Jean-Daniel Hamelin, Director of CCS Public Affairs.
Rachelle's six tumours
Age 31, Rachelle Pitre was once a tanning salon user; now she is a skin
cancer survivor. She had to undergo extremely painful surgery to have
six tumours removed: one from her thigh, one from her breast and four
from her face. She began going to tanning salons when she was a
teenager, not long before her high school prom, and over the following
decade, she became a regular client. Since her operation, she has had
to make some major changes to her lifestyle habits: for example, avoid
sun exposure and always wear FPS 60. Today, she says she inflicted this
tragedy upon herself out of carelessness and ignorance, and she is
calling for a law to protect all teenagers — as she would have liked to
have been protected.
When a tanning salon opened its doors near her home, Annie Gloutney was
15 years old and thought she was much prettier with a tan. Even though
her grandfather had skin cancer and her parents forbade it, she started
using tanning beds. She continued until she was in her 30s, "just" a
few sessions in the spring, in the fall, and before going on trips. She
was diagnosed with a first melanoma at age 37, followed by a recurrence
of the cancer last year. After several long hospital stays, a very
aggressive treatment and a period of shock for her whole family, Annie
will soon know if her cancer has gone, if her husband will have a bit
less on his shoulders, and if she will see her two daughters grow up.
According to Annie, if she had not gone to tanning salons, her story
would have been different.
The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything it can to
prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. When
you want know more about cancer, visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888
SOURCE CANADIAN CANCER SOCIETY, QUEBEC DIVISION
For further information:
André Beaulieu, Senior Advisor, Public Relations
Canadian Cancer Society - Québec Division
email@example.com | 514 393-3444
Jean-Daniel Hamelin, Director of Public Affairs
Canadian Cancer Society - Québec Division
firstname.lastname@example.org | 514 608-5228