Public misperception of new regulations supports a call for a nationwide solarium ban

Suzanne J Dobbinson, Angela Volkov and Melanie A Wakefield
Med J Aust 2013; 198 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.11174
Published online: 15 April 2013

To the Editor: Exposure to ultraviolet radiation in solariums is associated with higher risk of melanoma and squamous cell carcinomas, especially when exposure occurs at a young age.1 Despite increasing numbers of solariums and tanning promotion offers,2 solarium usage was previously controlled only by a voluntary industry standard (2002). This standard permitted 16–17-year-olds to use solariums with parental permission, barring only younger adolescents and children.3 Precipitated by Clare Oliver’s anti-solarium campaign before her death from melanoma,2 the voluntary standard was revised in 2008 to bar all individuals aged under 18 years from using solariums.4 Subsequently, Australian state and territory governments (except the Northern Territory) implemented regulations to further curb the use of solariums by people aged under 18 years by 2010,2,5 and to bar adults with highly sensitive skin by 2011. The NT continued to use the industry standard.

  • Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Council of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC.


We acknowledge Cancer Council Australia for funding the survey, and the National Skin Cancer Committee for contributing to survey development. We thank the survey respondents for their participation in this study.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group on artificial ultraviolet (UV) light and skin cancer. The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: a systematic review. Int J Cancer 2007; 120: 1116-1122.
  • 2. Makin JK, Dobbinson SJ. Changes in solarium numbers in Australia following negative media and legislation. Aust N Z J Public Health 2009; 33: 491-494.
  • 3. Makin JK, Hearne K, Dobbinson SJ. Compliance with age and skin type restrictions following the introduction of indoor tanning legislation in Melbourne, Australia. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 2011; 27: 286-293.
  • 4. Joint Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand Committee CS-064, Solaria. Australian/New Zealand Standard: Solaria for cosmetic purposes. 3rd ed. AS/NZS 2635: 2008. Sydney and Wellington: Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand, 2008.
  • 5. Australian Capital Territory Government. Radiation Protection (Tanning Units) Amendment Bill 2010. au/cgi-bin/download.cgi/au/legis/act/bill/rpuab2010468 (accessed Jul 2012).


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