Tanning beds popular amongst Albertans 18-24
Alberta Health Services is warning Albertans about the dangers of artificial indoor tanning beds through a new campaign.
According to a survey commissioned by Alberta Health Services, 50 per cent of women aged 18 to 24 year have used a tanning bed once in their lives, and almost a quarter of them have used artificial tanning at least once over the past 12 months.
The survey also reports that almost a third of men aged 18 to 24 year have used a tanning bed once in their lives, while 28 per cent of them have used a tanning bed over the past 12 months.
Dr. Laura McLeod, Alberta Health Services medical officer, said she is concerned about the numbers and hopes that the campaign will raise public awareness of the dangers of indoor tanning.
The campaign involves advertisements posted online, at movie theaters, and in restaurants and bars frequented by the age group.
The advertisements explain how minimal artificial tanning can cause significant health issues later in life.
“There is no such thing as tanning in moderation when it comes to indoor tanning,” Dr. McLeod said. “A tan is a sign of skin damage, which can lead to skin cancer.”
Indoor tanning beds emit artificial ultraviolet radiation, a proven carcinogen comparable to tobacco, asbestos and arsenic, according to the World Health Organization.
Research suggests that over 10 indoor tanning sessions can double a person’s risk of developing melanoma – the most aggressive and deadly of all skin cancers, and the most common cancer among young adults.
In Alberta, 73 people died from melanoma and 534 were diagnosed with the disease in 2010, according to the Alberta Cancer Registry.
“When we look at lung cancer, we see that the growing awareness of the dangers of tobacco is helping decrease lung cancer rates in Alberta,” said Dr. Paul Grundy, Alberta Health Services cancer care VP.
“This survey shows that to begin decreasing the rates of melanoma, we need to similarly increase awareness of the dangers of artificial tanning.”
A key aspect of the campaign is TheBigBurn.ca website, which provides information regarding health risks associated with indoor tanning.
Ipsos Reid conducted the survey from December 2012 to January and interviewed almost 2,300 Albertans about indoor tanning use, their knowledge and beliefs about the risks involved.