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Sun sets on solariums: number of solarium sites cut in half

Sunday 21 June, 2009

The sun is setting on the solarium industry as effective legislation coupled with more informed consumers are having a dramatic impact on the industry, according to SunSmart Manager, Sue Heward.

"Figures released by the Victorian Government today indicate that the number of solarium sites across Victoria has nearly halved (a drop of 45%) with the number of units being cut by more than a third (36%). This is a dramatic decrease over the short period since the legislation came into force (February 2008)."

"Victoria led the way with solarium legislation in Australia and these results are a testament to the state government's approach which has set standards and then allowed consumers and market forces to dictate demand," said Ms Heward.

Ms Heward said the closures were a result of a much greater awareness of the dangers of solarium use, largely initiated by anti-solarium campaigner Clare Oliver, combined with tough new legislation. 

"Consumers are now voting with their feet and walking away from solariums, but there is still more work to be done in informing the public about the dangers of solarium use. Many people still believe that solariums are safe. In fact, research shows that people under the age of 35 who have used a solarium even once have increased their risk of melanoma by 75%, " she said.

Ms Heward predicted that solariums would come close to extinction in the coming years, as long as public awareness of the dangers of using tanning beds continued to increase.

"For the sake of public health, let's hope we see solariums on the endangered list in the next five years," she said. 

Prior to regulation (pre Feb 2008):

  • Number of sites with a tanning unit: 436 
  • Number of tanning units: 1021

Post regulation (June 2009):

  • Number of businesses licensed: 218
  • Number of sites with a tanning unit: 240 (45% decrease) 
  • Number of tanning units licensed: 656 (36% decrease)