Local advocacy efforts result in municipal by-law
TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2013 /CNW/ - The City of Belleville has passed a by-law that restricts youth under 18 from using indoor tanning equipment. With this decision, Belleville joins a growing list of jurisdictions across the country that have taken action on this important public health issue.
Indoor tanning before the age of 35 significantly increases a person's risk of developing melanoma. Melanoma is one of the most common forms of skin cancer in young Ontarians aged 15 to 29, and is one of the most preventable. In 2009, the world's foremost authority in identifying the causes of cancer, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified ultraviolet radiation-emitting devices, including tanning beds, as known carcinogens.
The Canadian Cancer Society and its volunteers have been advocating on this important cancer prevention issue for more than seven years. Last year, local advocacy efforts heated up when Kate Neale lent her story to the cause. Ms. Neale who lives in Belleville, is a former tanning salon worker, who started tanning at age 16 only to be diagnosed with melanoma in 2011 at age 21.
"As a skin cancer survivor, I have scars on my body from all of the biopsies I've undergone. I live with the fear that my cancer could come back," says Neale. "I'm thrilled that Belleville City Council decided to pass this by-law because it will prevent other young people from being at risk."
As a Canadian Cancer Society volunteer, Kate has told her story at Queen's Park and has spoken at high schools to educate teenagers about the dangers of indoor tanning. To increase support for the Belleville by-law, Ms. Neale collected signatures from more than 80 physicians in Belleville and surrounding areas.
"The passing of this by-law is a great example of grassroots advocacy in action," says Karen White, volunteer president of the Canadian Cancer Society's Hastings-Prince Edward County Unit. "To move this issue forward, our volunteers have met with local MPPs, written letters to editors and worked with officials at the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit."
At the provincial level, the Society is calling on the Ontario government to re-introduce similar indoor tanning legislation once the legislature is back in session. In September, the McGuinty government announced plans to adopt a NDP Private Member's bill that aimed to ban youth under 18 from indoor tanning facilities but the legislation expired when the legislature was prorogued in October.
About the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division
The Canadian Cancer Society is your best partner in the fight against cancer. We have more impact against more cancers in more communities than any other cancer charity in Canada. Through our mission, we fight more than 200 different types of cancer on numerous fronts. From cancer prevention activities to advocacy efforts on important issues, we give a voice to cancer patients and their families. We also fund world-class research and offer free information and support services that are proven to decrease stress and anxiety in patients and caregivers. The work of the Canadian Cancer Society is supported by our volunteers and the generous support of our fundraising campaigns such as Daffodil Month and Relay For Life. To learn more, call 1-888-939-3333 or visit cancer.ca.
SOURCE: Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)
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