A proposed bill that could ban teenagers and fair-skinned
adults from using sunbeds has received support from the
Cancer Society and the national Dermatologists body.
National MP Paul Hutchison's Health (Skin Cancer and Trauma
Prevention) Amendment Bill would see enforced regulations on
sunbeds and cosmetic lasers to prevent avoidable harm from
It also calls on premises with sunbeds to be licensed and
The New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated (NZDSi)
supported the bill, which would "provide greater consumer
protection minimising potential and actual harm in their
use", said a statement.
About 300 New Zealanders die each year from malignant
melanoma, and UV light from sunbeds is nearly three times as
harmful as sun radiation, said the Cancer Society.
Sunbeds have been banned in New South Wales, and South
Australia will ban them by 2015.
New Zealand has the highest incidence of melanoma in the
world. In 2009 there was a total of 2212 melanoma
registrations and 326 deaths.
The current voluntary standards for using sunbeds include
client consent, no use for under 18-year-olds and exclusion
of people with pale skin who always burn.
Surveys by Consumer New Zealand of sunbed operators has shown
there is a high level of non-compliance.
A Consumer NZ mystery shopper sunbed survey, published in
September, found many sunbed operators were not complying
with the voluntary standards.
In the survey of 30 clinics in Auckland and Wellington, just
three turned away a person with very fair skin.
Dr Hutchison said the proposed bill was a timely reminder
that New Zealanders need to do something to reduce the
statistic of having the highest incidence of melanoma in the
"Sunbed use is widely associated with an increased risk of
early onset melanoma."
"It's also associated with skin burns, premature aging,
corneal burns, cataracts, ocular melanoma, and
photodermatitis," said Dr Hutchison.
Cancer Society's health promotion manager Dr Jan Pearson
supported the move to protect youth from exposure to UVR
while using sunbeds.
She said licensing and regulating the providers would give
consumers some assurance that the service they are paying for
has some safeguards.
There is no guarantee Dr Hutchison's bill will be drawn from