The Opposition NDP calls on the Saskatchewan government to prohibit people below 18 years of age from using tanning beds.
The NDP is joining other organizations such as the Saskatchewan Medical Association and the Canadian Cancer Society in its bid to "protect" young people from skin cancer risks associated with tanning. The groups say young people are more vulnerable to this risk backed by substantial evidence.
New democratic health advocate Danielle Chartier said that young adults deserve protection and mentioned the ban of cigarettes and alcohol from under aged people. She said many provinces have already prohibited it but Saskatchewan's Minister of Health Dustin Duncan disagrees, saying he is against such ban. He argues that a partial prohibition aimed at young adults would soon result to an outright prohibition of tanning beds even for adults. Duncan said he does not see it like smoking and individuals should be able to decide if they would want to get a tan or not.
On Apr. 17, Duncan and Chartier appeared in the legislature's Human Services Committee meeting, debating on the issue of tanning bed prohibition for young people. Chartier showed statistics of skin cancer in relation to tanning beds in Saskatchewan and questioned the government why it has not made any laws to limit its use. Duncan said that knowledge on the dangers of tanning is important and he might just require parental consent for young adults to be able to use tanning beds.
Chartier disagreed and said that the recent education campaign by the government was not effective. "Twenty-seven percent of young women are using tanning equipment despite health education on the dangers of indoor tanning," Chartier said.
Duncan also said he is observing how Manitoba handles this new requirement for young people to bring a consent note from their parents, allowing them to use tanning beds. Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan are the remaining provinces which still do not prohibit young people from using tanning beds.
Alberta is said to prepare a tanning equipment requirement for 2014 but the health minister did not mention if the bill will prohibit young people below 18 years of age from using tanning beds or simply regulate it.