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Alberta to propose law that would ban people under 18 from tanning beds

A tanning bed is seen in North Vancouver, B.C. Tuesday, March, 20, 2012.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Alberta's health minister says a new law will be introduced later this year that will keep people under 18 out of tanning beds.

Fred Horne had earlier said legislation would protect youth from skin cancer, but he didn't indicate if that meant including such a ban.

He said Wednesday that a scientific committee has examined the issue and laws in other provinces.

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"The evidence is overwhelming about the increased risk for melanoma or skin cancer for people who are exposed to artificial tanning," he said.

"This would, at least in my view, be the most appropriate response to try to stop a cancer that is quite frankly completely preventable."

All other provinces — except Saskatchewan and Manitoba — have laws preventing youths from using indoor tanning equipment.

Saskatchewan ruled out a ban earlier this year. Manitoba lets young people use the beds if they have parental consent.

Parental consent is an option that will likely be considered in Alberta, said Horne, but it's not something he supports.

He said he hopes other members of cabinet will back the bill when it's tabled in the fall.

"I think many of them will. I've talked to many of them about it already."

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The Canadian Cancer Society released a report earlier this week that says people underestimate the risk of getting skin cancer and aren't doing enough to protect against it.

Numbers show cases of melanoma are on the rise, in both women and men.

The society expects there will be 80,000 cases of skin cancer this year, almost the same number of cases as the top four cancers combined — lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer.

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