1 Jul 2016

Now ban sunbeds altogether - specialists

11:40 am on 1 July 2016

A new law stopping people aged under 18 from using sunbeds is being welcomed, but skin specialists still want a full ban.

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Melanoma New Zealand says the risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent if people use solariums before the age of 35. Photo: 123RF

The Health (Protection) Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament last night and could be in force by early next year.

Skin cancer kills 300 people every year and Melanoma New Zealand says the risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent if people use solariums before the age of 35.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said the law change would ban sunbeds for people aged under 18 and allow the Ministry of Health to look at possible licensing and mandatory standards for sunbed salons.

"This legislation seeks to protect this vulnerable group while balancing the rights of informed adults," Dr Coleman said.

"There is strong evidence that people who use sunbeds increase their risk of melanoma and other more common skin cancers. There is also evidence that children and adolescents are more sensitive to UV."

Melanoma New Zealand clinical advisor Louise Reicher told Nine to Noon Australia had already moved to a full ban on sunbeds after finding regulation didn't work.

"Initially they took the same step that we're undertaking right now to try and regulate sunbeds and what they found is that the public erroneously thought that because they were regulated sunbeds were safer.

"How many patients are we going to put at risk?"

Ms Reicher said the law change had already taken a decade to put in place.

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