With spring break on the horizon, quickly followed by graduation and summer holidays, Oak Bay high school students – along with others around the province – are encouraging their peers to be tan-free for vacations, grad and prom.
“It’s such an important thing to let our age group know that there are risks out there,” said Grade 12 student Amy Hill. “Melanoma is a disease that can accumulate over the years and it’s important to let our age group know the risks.”
Hill and her classmate Grace Soong were both involved with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Tanning is Out initiative last year in addition to the school’s Youth Against Cancer group.
“Skin cancer is the most common and deadly form of cancer among young people and this is a good time to make sure people know about this,” Soong said.
Oak Bay High grad Mary Elrick has been working with her former high school on the campaign.
Elrick said even though the ban on tanning for youth under the age of 18 was implemented by the CRD in January 2011, every year students get better at turning youth towards a perspective of being healthy outdoors.
“We’re really encouraging people to own their own skin tone,” said Elrick. “That’s a big part of the campaign, and it’s tough to get the message across but once students get it, it’s really significant.”
But the Tanning is Out initiative isn’t just focused on grad. Students like Hill and Soong have been going into classes all week talking to younger students in hopes they will continue to cary the message forward.
The students at Oak Bay High school wrapped up Tanning is Out March 8.