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Protecting minors from skin cancer

To protect their health, youth under 18 will be banned from artificial tanning services starting Jan. 1, 2018.

The government is acting on clear evidence linking artificial tanning with skin cancer by prohibiting artificial tanning for minors and requiring businesses to prominently display health warnings.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, businesses providing artificial tanning services:

  • Cannot provide ultraviolet (UV) artificial tanning services to minors.
  • Cannot advertise UV artificial tanning services to minors.
  • Are required to post health warnings and age restrictions.
  • Cannot have unsupervised self-service artificial tanning equipment in public places.

“Research has shown that using artificial tanning when you are under 35 dramatically increases your risk for melanoma. The changes we’re making will help protect our youth from a disease that affects hundreds of Albertans every year and gives Albertans better information about the risks of artificial tanning.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Alberta and accounts for more than one-third of all new cancer cases. UV radiation exposure accounts for about 82 per cent of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

“Preventing teen use of artificial tanning equipment will reduce skin cancer, which, despite being highly preventable, is one of the fastest-rising cancers. As a survivor of this disease myself, I want to thank the government for proclaiming this act – it will save lives.”

Dan Holinda, Canadian Cancer Society

“As a melanoma survivor, I support the government with taking preventative measures to protect youth in Alberta. Artificial tanning should be made with mature thought and full awareness of the detriments such as possibly developing skin cancer. I believe this is a step forward in reducing skin cancer statistics in Alberta."

Lisa Brent, Melanoma survivor

Quick facts

  • Evidence shows using UV artificial tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59 per cent.
  • Rates of melanoma skin cancer are increasing in Alberta.
    • In 2014, there were 665 new cases of melanoma and 64 deaths due to the disease.
  • This is a rise in the number of cases from 2012, when there were 599 new cases of melanoma and 72 deaths due to the disease.
  • Alberta Health consulted with businesses that offer artificial tanning services and health advocacy groups to help inform the regulation and standard.
    • The regulation:
      • Prescribes acceptable forms of ID to verify age.
      • Bans tanning advertising targeted to minors.
      • Requires specific signage with health warnings and the age restriction to be posted at public entryways, points of sale and at each UV-emitting device.
      • Designates Alberta Health Services’ public health inspectors as enforcement officers. 

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