1 Jul 2014

Sunbed ban for under 18s in Auckland

9:44 pm on 1 July 2014

The ban on sunbeds for people under 18 has now come into effect in Auckland.

Auckland Council's new bylaw requires commercial sunbed operators to be licensed, and restricts the use of the devices to people over 18.

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Photo: 123RF

The council said the bylaw is a first in New Zealand and affects 1,200 operators throughout the region.

Tattoo parlours, businesses that do skin piercings and health and beauty operators such as nail salons, also fall under the new rules.

Auckland Council manager of environmental health Mervyn Chetty said the need for a license will ensure businesses meet health regulations.

"The new bylaw encourages best practice across a range of commercial services, such as tattooing, body piercing, hair removal, indoor tanning and nail services.

"A code of practice also sets minimum standards that must be complied with, reducing potential risks to public health."

Call for nationwide ban

A young woman who believes her melanomas were caused by sunbed use, says sunbeds should be banned completely.

Jessie Anitoni started using a sunbed when she was 16, and had her first of three melanomas removed when she was 21.

She's angry that as a 16-year-old girl with fair skin and moles, she was allowed as many sessions as she liked and her sunbed use was never questioned.

Chief executive of the Cancer Society Auckland John Loof said it was about time the bylaw was introduced.

"They [sunbeds] do have a significant ability to increase your risk of melanoma, especially in younger people with more sensitive skins.

"They are quite dangerous devices, rather than just harmless parts of the beauty therapy industry."

In April 2013 associate health minister Jo Goodhew said the Government would amend the Health Act to restrict sunbed use later that year.

read the release here

However, the legislation hasn't been changed, and Ms Goodhew said the amendment is in the process of being drafted.

"I look forward to being able to introduce this legislation to the House when it is ready. In the meantime we're getting on with what we can, including having DHB public health units visit solarium operators around the country to support them in meeting the current standard and to ensure they are aware of plans to amend the Health Act," she said.