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Harper Government Introduces Stronger Health Warnings on Tanning Beds

February 24, 2013
For immediate release

Information: Health Warning Messages on Tanning Beds

February 24, 2013
For immediate release

OTTAWA - Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and MP James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake, MB), announced that Health Canada intends to strengthen its health warnings about the dangers of tanning beds.

"The Harper Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadian families," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Young adults should be concerned about the health risks associated with the use of tanning beds, including skin cancer. Today, we are proposing changes that would require all tanning beds to display a health warning label to remind Canadians of those risks."

According to the World Health Organization, the risk of developing skin melanoma increases by 75% when use of tanning beds starts before the age of 35.

The announcement follows the posting of proposed changes to the labelling requirements for tanning equipment under the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations (RED) and a call for public comment on the proposal. The proposed changes would require all tanning beds to display a health warning decal with the following messages: "Not recommended for use by those under 18 years of age"; "Tanning Equipment Can Cause Cancer", as well as a bulleted list of other health risks associated with tanning.

"My wife is a melanoma cancer survivor and both of us used tanning beds. That is why I am fighting one of the most deadly, but also most preventable cancers," said MP Bezan. "In the last two parliaments I tabled Bills C-497 and C-386 that pushed for stronger regulations on labelling and using tanning equipment. I urge all provinces to follow British Columbia's, Nova Scotia's and Quebec's lead by banning youth from using this dangerous equipment."

Health Canada regulates the sale, lease and import of tanning beds under the Radiation Emitting Devices Act and Regulations. However, the regulation of tanning bed use in commercial establishments, including age restrictions, falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories. Eight of the 13 provinces/territories in the country currently either regulate, or have expressed an intention to regulate, access to tanning equipment by minors.

"Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, but it's also one of the most preventable," said Pamela Fralick, President and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society. "The Canadian Cancer Society has called upon all levels of government for strict regulation of the indoor tanning industry. Stronger labelling and clearer information about the dangers of tanning beds may reduce the number of young Canadians exposed to this carcinogen, and this is an important step in the right direction."

The 75-day public comment period on Health Canada's draft proposal will be completed in early May 2013 and the proposed regulatory changes are expected to be posted to Canada Gazette, Part II later this year.

Ottawa, ON., MP James Bezan (L) (Selkirk-Interlake, MB), and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health (middle) announced that Health Canada intends to strengthen its health warnings about the dangers of tanning beds, supported by Dan Demers (R) of the Canadian Cancer Society.

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