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.

  • Suzanne J Dobbinson
  • Angela Volkov
  • Melanie A Wakefield

  • 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.


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