Saskatchewan's Opposition party says it is time to ban the use of tanning beds by young people.
The NDP says medical evidence shows the risk of skin cancer associated with tanning is substantial and young people are especially vulnerable.
Minister of Health on Tanning Beds:
"[W]e continue to look at what other jurisdictions are doing in terms of restricting the access to tanning beds for youth but all ages in fact. I know that while in Canada most provinces have moved towards restricting tanning to youth - and you're right, Manitoba continues to have in place parental consent that would allow youth to use a tanning bed - there are examples though of other jurisdictions around the world that are actually banning tanning beds for everyone. I think Australia has already announced that or announced that they're intending to go down that road as well as I believe Brazil has made some moves to restrict tanning for all ages.
You know, its something that we, that I continue to think about and evaluate. Any time that government makes a determination to restrict an activity ... The choice of somebody to partake in an activity is something that, you know, I don't take lightly, and the ability of the state to outlaw that. We do continue to fund Sun Smart, the Sun Smart coalition. We've provided nearly $100,000 over the last two years for them to continue to raise awareness of the health risks associated with tanning. But at this point we don't have plans to make a change in policy."
- Dustin Duncan, Human Services Committee debates, Apr. 17, 2014.
"We protect young people when it comes to cigarette smoking, when it comes to alcohol," Danielle Chartier, the NDP health critic, said Tuesday. "This is something that we can do to lessen the harm when it comes to tanning beds to young people and eventually skin cancer."
But Dustin Duncan, the province's Minister of Health, says he is against a ban. Duncan argues a partial ban, aimed at young people, would inevitably lead to an outright ban of tanning beds for everyone.
However, Duncan said he is open to the idea of requiring parental consent for young people to use a tanning bed.
"It would still allow parents to have the ability to provide for supervision of their children and to allow the decision-making process to rest with families," Duncan said.
He added he is watching to see how Manitoba handles the situation, as that province requires parental consent for young people to use a tanning bed.
Human Services Committee debates tanning bed bans
On Apr. 17 Chartier and Duncan debated the issue of a ban on the use of tanning beds, by young people, during a meeting of the legislature's Human Services Committee.
After pointing out a number of statistics relating to the incidence of skin cancer in Saskatchewan, Chartier asked the minister why the government had not made any moves to limit the use of tanning beds.
Duncan responded that he believes education about the dangers of tanning is important.
"I think that for me, first and foremost, education and awareness needs to be the first approach that government takes in this type of area," Duncan said, according to Hansard.
However, according to Chartier, a recent education campaign supported by the province was not working.
"The reality is the organizations that you’ve funded, Sun Smart, has argued that public education is not working," Chartier said. "Twenty-seven per cent of young women are using tanning equipment despite health education on the dangers of indoor tanning."
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