- Every state has now either banned or is planning to outlaw commercial sunbeds due to country having some of the highest global skin cancer rates
- Condition is responsible for more than 2,000 deaths and 80 per cent of all new cancer diagnoses
Australia is to ban all commercial sunbeds in a bid to slash skin cancer rates.
Every state has now either banned or is planning to outlaw commercial sunbeds due to the country having some of the highest skin cancer rates in the world.
The condition is responsible for more than 2,000 deaths and 80 per cent of all new cancer diagnoses.
On Sunday, the Queensland government announced a total ban on commercial sunbeds by December 31 next year.
The state’s 44 solarium operators will be paid $1,000 AUD (£600) in compensation for each tanning bed – a total cost of $160,000 (£9,540),
The move came after other states – New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT all took steps to regulate or ban sunbed use.
Following the Queensland announcement, Dr Kim Hames, health minister of Western Australia – the only remaining state left to act – announced he was also preparing documents to ban sunbeds.
He told Fairfax Radio: ‘There is no doubt about the increased risk of cancer – so I think the chances are (a ban in WA) won’t be far away.’
‘I have to take it to cabinet, but if it happens it will happen in the next three months,’ Dr Hames told Fairfax radio.
Research has shown that people who have ever used a sunbed are 20 per cent more likely to develop melanoma later in life, compared to people who had never used one.
And those who started using sunbeds before the age of 35 were 87 per cent more likely to develop melanoma compared to people who have never used a sunbed.
Cases of malignant melanoma – the deadliest skin cancer – have doubled in the last decade, according to figures from Cancer Research UK.
Around 13,000 Britons are diagnosed with the illness each year and it causes 2,800 deaths.
The Australian crackdown comes after Brazil outlawed tanning beds, along with U.S. states such as Vermont and California. In the UK, people under 18 are banned from using sunbeds.
Tanning beds became increasingly popular among young Australians around 15-20 years ago. But numbers have fallen dramatically since a similar ban for under 18s was introduced.
Sara Osborne, Cancer Research UK’s head of policy, said: ‘It’s encouraging to see the Australian Government tackling this important issue and it will be interesting to see the response in other countries.
‘The evidence linking sun bed use and skin cancer is very clear. Overexposure to UV rays from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer, including malignant melanoma – the most serious form of the disease – which sadly kills around six people every day in the UK.
‘Cancer Research UK urges people not to use sunbeds for cosmetic reasons. The charity was involved in the successful campaign to introduce a ban on under-18s using them and is now asking the Government to give local authorities the power to license any businesses that provide sunbeds and to inform users of the health risks.