In a survey released by the Canadian Cancer Society discloses that nearly 65% of children from grade 7 to 10 tan themselves by exposing to dangerous ultra violet rays using artificial tanning equipments.
The society is voicing its concern in support to the WHO recommendation that children under the age of 18 be prevented from tanning using artificial methods due to health risks.
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Canada. Marlene Gomes, unit manager with the Lanark, Leeds and Grenville chapter of the cancer society said that "It's a great opportunity at this time of year to raise awareness". "It is preventable and it's important to get the message out." He was talking of a campaign to coincide with the second annual Cancer Prevention Week from April 23-29.
"That so many young people choose to expose themselves to dangerous levels of ultraviolet radiation is of great concern to us, and shows the urgency to regulate the tanning industry and ban artificial tanning for people under the age of 18," Rowena Pinto, director of prevention and public issues at the chapter, said in a release.
The Tanning beds are the most common method used by the teens for tanning. "People think tanning beds are controlled but their rays are the same (type as the sun). It causes damage to the skin which is preventable," according to Gomes.
Fabutan, the largest chain of sun tanning salon in Canada, has decided that it will shut down the branch that will allow any kids less than 16 using the facility.
Sunburns developed under the age of 18 can give rise to the risks of cancer at a later stage in life. So the cancer society has issued sun protection tips for the summer.
· Reduce exposure to the sun when its rays are most intense, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. or when the UV index is 3 or more.
· Enjoy places that include shade, and in open areas, such as beaches, bring an umbrella to create your own shade.
· Slip on light, loose-fitting clothing to cover your arms and legs.
· Slap on a wide-brimmed hat that covers your head, face, ears and neck. Hats without a wide brim, such as baseball caps, do not give enough protection.
· Wear sunglasses, which can help prevent damage to your eyes by blocking a large amount of ultraviolet rays. Choose sunglasses with even shading, medium to dark lenses and UVA and UVB protection.
· Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. If you work outdoors, or if you will be outside for most of the day, use an SPF of 30. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading out and reapply every two hours, more often if you're swimming or sweating.
· Keep babies under one year out of the direct sun.