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New campaign demands long-awaited law to ban teenagers from sunbeds

The Irish Cancer Society is renewing its calls for legislation to minimise the risk of skin cancers in under-18s.

Image: Tanning bed photo via Shutterstock

THERE HAVE BEEN new calls for legislation to ban all use of sunbeds by under-18s.

The Irish Cancer Society has demanded laws which would stop under-18s from being exposed to the risk of skin cancer through the use of artificially tanning beds.

The last government, under then-health minister Mary Harney, had proposed an outright ban on the use of sunbeds for under-18s – but the proposals had not been brought forward by the time the government collapsed and Harney quit as minister.

Proposals to ban the use of sunbeds appeared in the current Programme for Government, and legislation had been promised last year – but the latest government update is that the legislation won’t be appearing until the end of this year at the earliest.

“Sunbed use is as carcinogenic as smoking and we need the Minister for Health to show the same degree of leadership that he has shown in combatting tobacco related illness and prioritise the introduction of this lifesaving legislation,” said the society’s head of advocacy Kathleen O’Meara.

“While the Government delays the publication of sunbed legislation, sunbed operators can exploit young people’s desire for a year round tan.”

The society says it has undertaken surveys indicating that 50 per cent of people favour a total ban on sunbeds, while a further 43 per cent of people supported a ban on their use by under-18s – so the legislation should not be delayed because of doubts over public support.

It also claims that up to 28,000 people under the age of 25 use sunbeds every year, and that two-thirds of all sunbed users began to use them when they were under 25.

Read: 794 people die each year in Europe from sunbed-induced skin cancer – research

More: 100 people die of melanoma every year in Ireland

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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