Government publishes Bill to prevent minors using commercial sunbeds
The Government has this week published legislation that will prohibit operators of sunbed premises from allowing anyone under 18 to use sunbeds.
Minister for Health Dr James Reilly welcomed the legislation, saying it will help reduce the number of skin cancers in this country.
“There is growing evidence that the use of sunbeds, especially by children, should be restricted because of the associated increased risk of skin cancer and other health problems,” the Minister said.
“The Government gave me approval to legislate to prohibit operators of sunbed premises from allowing anyone under 18 years of age to use a sunbed on their premises, and to prohibit the use of sunbeds in unsupervised premises.”
The Minister noted that the World Health Organisation has recently reclassified sunbed use from a group 2A carcinogen (probably carcinogenic to humans) to a Group 1 carcinogen (carcinogenic to humans).
Given this evidence, that the use of sunbeds poses a major cancer risk, this Bill also provides for control on the remote sale or hire of sunbeds (internet transactions); a requirement that sunbed operators provide training for staff; an enforcement regime to enable inspections to be carried out by the HSE and the imposition of penalties for non-compliance including fixed payment notices; an obligation on all sunbed operators to provide protective eyewear and that the sunbeds are maintained in a clean and hygienic condition; a requirement that warning signs be displayed in all sunbed premises; a prohibition on certain claims attributing health benefits to sunbed use; a prohibition on promotional marketing practices; a requirement on operators to ensure that sunbed users are made fully aware of the potential dangers of sunbed use, and that they are given an opportunity to read the health information form and sign it; and an exemption to enable medically supervised phototherapy treatments within the health system.
“Action is required to protect the public, in particular children and young persons, from the risk of skin damage, and the increased risk of developing skin cancer,” Minister Reilly said. “We need to promote a greater public awareness across all age groups of the dangers of developing skin cancer, premature ageing, and eye damage from exposure to ultraviolet radiation. I believe that this Bill will contribute to a reduction in the incidence of skin cancers over the coming years.”
There has been a growing body of evidence in recent years that the use of sunbeds, especially by children, should be restricted because of the associated increased risk of skin cancer and other health problems.