The Canadian Cancer Society is starting a campaign in Newfoundland and Labrador schools to encourage students to have a tan-free graduation.
Darrell Yetman, the co-ordinator of the Tan-Free Grad challenge for the Canadian Cancer Society in Newfoundland and Labrador, said he's been visiting schools, encouraging student groups to get their peers to pledge not to use tanning beds before their graduation festivities.
He said his group will send out information packages to schools interested taking in the tan-free grad challenge.
It has been common for students to have sessions at tanning salons as part of their preparations for their graduation formal events.
However, the Canadian Cancer Society has said that exposing skin to ultraviolet rays via tanning beds or sun lamps, especially before the age of 35, will increase people's chances of getting skin cancer.
Many provinces have already passed legislation banning tanning beds for people under the age of 19. Legislation banning minors from tanning beds in Newfoundland and Labrador is still pending.
Yetman admitted it has been sometimes difficult to convince teens that using tanning beds, which they think make them look good, may cause them health problems in several decades.
'It's going to give you a prematurely wrinkled look.' —Darrell Yetman, Canadian Cancer Society
"There's a certain vanity in the tanning process itself and you appeal to the fact that tanning is not just carcinogenic — it's not just going to cause cancer. But it's going to deteriorate your skin. It's going to give you a prematurely wrinkled look."
Yetman has been bringing graphic videos and photos of the effects of tanning on skin to students in hopes that the short term appeal of their looks will help them take care of their skin in the long term.