03/09/2015 06:05 EDT | Updated 05/09/2015 05:59 EDT

Alberta to introduce indoor tanning legislation aimed at protecting young people

EDMONTON - After years of study Alberta is to introduce legislation to regulate tanning beds as a way to protect young people from skin cancer.

A spokesman for Alberta Health says a bill is to be tabled sometime during the legislature's spring sitting which begins Tuesday.

Steve Buick says details won't be released until the bill is introduced, but he says it will focus on protecting people under 18 from the effects of artificial tanning.

Organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society and the Centers For Disease Control in the U.S. have linked indoor tanning to skin cancers, including potentially deadly melanoma.

Alberta and Saskatchewan are the only two provinces that don't regulate youth access to tanning equipment.

It is not clear if the government intends to pass the legislation this spring or hold it until it can gather public comment.

"Yes we do intend to bring a bill in this session," Buick said Monday.

"It will deal with regulation of artificial tanning, especially with a view to protecting children. Anyone under 18."

The Canadian Cancer Society released statistics last year that said melanoma is one of the fastest-growing preventable cancers.

Sarah Hawkins, a public policy analyst with the society, said she hopes the legislation will be comprehensive enough to adequately protect young people.

She suggested an outright ban is needed.

"From all of the policy evidence that we have analyzed, a ban is the only way to adequately protect youth. It is time," she said.

"We also hope that the government makes this important disease prevention bill a priority in the session."

Last year, the government pledged to introduce tanning bed legislation before the end of 2014.