Alberta bans minors from artificial tanning in melanoma prevention effort

tanning bed FDA image e1530822034890 Alberta bans minors from artificial tanning in melanoma prevention effortIn an attempt to lower rising melanoma rates and protect the health of its citizens, Alberta Health Services has instituted and will be enforcing new regulations that ban minors from using artificial tanning services.

“Research has shown that using artificial tanning when you are under 35 dramatically increases your risk for melanoma,” Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says according to The South Peace News. “The changes we’re making will help protect our youth from a disease that affects hundreds of Albertans every year and gives Albertans better information about the risks of artificial tanning.”

The new rule takes effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Businesses will be required to post health warnings and age restrictions at public entryways, points of sale and at each UV-emitting device. They will be required to check approved forms of IDs. Any unsupervised self-service tanning equipment must be removed from public areas. Advertising cannot be targeted to minors.

“Preventing teen use of artificial tanning equipment will reduce skin cancer, which, despite being highly preventable, is one of the fastest-rising cancers,” says Dan Holinda, Canadian Cancer Society executive director for Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Skin cancer, in fact, accounts for more than one-third of new cancer cases in Alberta.

“As a survivor of this disease myself, I want to thank the government for proclaiming this act – it will save lives.”

As health advocates look to address the disturbing statistics of melanoma rates, which are rising in the United States as well, minors are not the only at-risk population being examined. Last week Queensland, Australia, which has for many years had the ominous designation of the world’s melanoma capital, announced exciting research finding that over the last two decades they were seeing different trends.

Melanoma rates were stable or decreased in all populations, except for one. The one population group that did not benefit from the improvement seen in the rest of Queensland was men older than 60, in which incidence of invasive melanoma and melanoma mortality actually increased.

It is of note that this same group might also be at increased risk for melanoma if they have taken erectile dysfunction drugs, such as Viagra or Cialis. These drugs, known as PDE5 inhibitors have been found by studies to increase risk of melanoma as well as to encourage growth of existing melanoma. Attention has been raised about these drugs’ link to melanoma by hundreds of men in the United States who are suing their manufacturers saying that had they should have been warned of this health risk.

“As a direct, proximate and legal result of Pfizer’s negligence and wrongful conduct, and the unreasonably dangerous and defective characteristics of the drug Viagra, individual plaintiffs suffered severe and permanent physical and emotional injuries,” said the master complaint in a multidistrict litigation that now includes both Pfizer and other PDE5 manufacturers and included 571 plaintiffs as of Oct. 16 according to Law360. “These physical injuries have included melanoma as well as the resulting treatment and surgeries necessitated by the skin cancer diagnosis.”

In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been looking into the need for regulatory action regarding the serious risk of skin melanomas for the PDE5 inhibitors Adcirca, Cialis, Levitra, Revatio, Staxyn, Stendra and Viagra.

The South Peace News
United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
Righting Injustice
U.S. Food and Drug Administration