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MP wants to ban minors from using tanning beds

Man is seen tanning under ultraviolet lighting in salon. GETTY IMAGES/STONE/Gabriela Hasbun

A Conservative MP wants to ban the use of tanning beds by anyone under the age of 18.

Manitoba MP James Bezan has tabled a private member’s bill that would restrict access to tanning beds and require them to carry clear warning labels listing the risks associated with their use.

The bill would also require warning signs wherever tanning equipment is provided.

The Canadian Cancer Society, which has backed such restrictions for some time, applauds the proposed legislation.

The group’s public-issues director, Dan Demers, says ultraviolet radiation is the primary cause of skin cancer and contends tanning beds are extremely harmful, especially to young people.

Demers calls the bill “a good first step” and he’s urging parliamentarians on all sides of the House to support it.

“We hope it will lead to national legislation to regulate this industry, which continues to make false claims that tanning isn’t dangerous,” he said.

There are currently bans on the use of tanning beds by youth under the age of 19 in Nova Scotia and for those under the age of 18 in the city of Victoria. A few provinces also have voluntary guidelines.

Under Bezan’s bill, federal law would regulate the tanning industry and establish consistent regulations for all provinces and territories.

Internationally, France, Scotland, England, parts of Australia and the state of California are among jurisdictions that have banned the use of tanning beds for under-18s.

The cancer society says world-renowned researchers have established a direct link between the use of indoor tanning equipment and skin cancer.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has listed UV radiation — including that emitted by tanning devices — as known to cause cancer in humans.

The cancer society expects 5,500 Canadians to be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer this year and says about 950 will die from the disease.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among Canadians, with 74,100 cases and 270 deaths expected this year.