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Australia Bans Sunbeds

Written by Nadia McCracken on January 2nd, 2015.      1 comments

 
Most Australian states and territories have banned commercial tanning beds taking effect from Thursday 1 January 2015.

The aim is to crackdown on artificial tanning in a country that has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. This makes Australia the second nation after Brazil to impose such a restriction. 

The question is:
should New Zealand follow suit?

 
SpaBeautyNZ News Should Sunbeds be Banned in NZ
The ban has come into force in the following states in Australia:
  • New South Wales
  • Victoria
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Queensland 
  • Australian Capital Territory
Western Australia has said it would also implement a ban, though it has yet to announce a start date.
There are no commercial solariums in the only other part of Australia - the hot and humid Northern Territory.

Cancer Council Australia welcomed the ban, which it has long pushed for, adding that it would help to reduce rates of skin cancer, which affects two out of three Australians by age 70.

"Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world," advocacy director Paul Grogan said in a statement to AFP. "Solariums expose users to extremely highly levels of UV (ultraviolet) radiation, greatly increasing their risk of melanoma and other skin cancers."

Public health campaigners have long pushed to promote awareness of the dangers of exposure to the sun, urging people to wear sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. They have also warned that tanning on a sunbed is not safe.

"Queensland already has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and there is no question there's a direct link between regular sunbed use and the incidence of malignant melanoma," the state's interim Health Minister Mark McArdle says.

The incidence of skin cancers in Australia is two to three times the rates in Canada, the United States and Britain, the Cancer Council said. More than 2000 Australians died from skin cancer in 2011, the majority from melanoma, which is caused by harmful ultraviolet light from the sun, the council added.

New Zealand & Australia's proximity to Antarctica, where there is a hole in the ozone layer which normally filters out UV rays, also increases the risk.

On 1st July 2014 Auckland was New Zealand's first city to ban under 18's from using sunbeds.

Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer affecting New Zealanders. The total number of new melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer NMSC (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) cases amounts to around 80 percent of all new cancers each year.   

New Zealand, along with Australia, has among the highest melanoma rates in the world. In 2010, the year for which most recent figures are available, melanoma was the fourth most common cancer, with 2,341 registered cases (1241 males and 1100 females). It was also the sixth most common cause of death from cancer that year.

Previous research suggested that the use of sunbeds by people aged 18 to 39 increases their risk of developing melanoma, the most common form of cancer among young Australians, by an average of 41 percent.

The ban was supported by a majority of Australians, the council said, in a recent survey of 6,300 people, while fewer adults and youths said they had used a solarium in the past year.

About one percent of adults and 0.3 percent of youths used a sunbed, the data showed, down from 2.2 percent and 1.2 percent a decade ago.

Several European countries and American states have also banned the use of sunbeds by minors, according to research published in the journal Nature.

We'd love to know what you think?
 

1 Comments

IWantMyChoiceBack! says ...
I would have gone along with all the PR had I not found out the NZ Cancer Foundation sales of sunscreen had fallen in line with sunbed use (note: at time of writing NZCF does not sell a sunblock only a sunscreen).

When will our governments grow backbones and form their own INFORMED opinions? rather than appearing to rely on industry representatives, whose reasons appear more commercially influenced than with the true health of the public at heart.

Surely a technology which creates a controllable artificial environment that emits a set amount of UVA and UVB exposure over a controlled period of time is a SUPERIOR alternative to tanning outdoors where the level of UVA and UVB is unknown due to atmospheric conditions, subsequently the tanner is unable to calculate the correct exposure time unless the tanner is a scientist with the correct equipment. And this all before any sunscreen is applied.

Perhaps it would make more sense for the numerous cancer groups, foundations and societies to work with the industry than against it to promote/educate/encourage a safer alternative (eg. spray tans) and aim to save more lives that way.

I agree that sunbed operators and sunbed use needs regulation, but to ban a controllable technology (sunbeds) because of the total number of cancer incidences is a kin to banning the motor car because of all crashes.

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