Australia has the highest rate of melanoma in the world. For decades they have been taking measures to reduce the number of skin cancers by encouraging the use of sun protection through public health campaigns. Now, Australia is taking their sun safety efforts to the next level. In February, New South Whales (NSW), the most heavily populated state is Australia, declared they will prohibit the use of commercial tanning beds, regardless of age, by 2015.
This solarium ban (Australian jargon for tanning bed) will not take effect for approximately three years. Greens NSW Member of Parliament John Kaye claims this is too long to wait. He says during the time leading up to the ban, up to 43 will die from cancer related illnesses that likely could have been prevented if an immediate ban was imposed. According to NSW government, a three year wait is necessary in order to give solarium businesses time to diversify.
On a global scale, stricter tanning bed regulations and complete bans have been rising over the last few years. In 2009, Brazil was the first country in the world to ban tanning beds altogether after the World Health Organization declared ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds to be a class 1 carcinogen. Asbestos and cigarettes are in the same category. In 2011, California announced a ban of tanning beds use for those under 18 years of age. This law is similar to France, England and Wales, all countries taking action on the topic of concern.
NSW seems to be helping push the anti-tanning movement forward. After their announcement, other Australian states have also begun talking about banning solariums in addition to New Zealand, which also has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world. Parts of Canada and U.S. states are also currently considering stricter regulations for tanning beds.
What are your thoughts about tanning bed bans?