New data released in the lead-up to the state ban on commercial solariums shows that Victorians are ready to ditch the deadly machines.
Cancer Council’s 2013-14 National Sun Protection Survey shows that 83% of Victorian adults (79% nationally) support the incoming ban on solariums, which will be in place in Victoria and most other states and territories by 1 January 2015.
The survey of more than 6000 participants also suggests that solarium use was relatively low in 2013-14, after many years of education about the adverse health effects of sunbed use and the introduction of regulatory controls.
Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said that in 2013-14 just 1% of Victorian adults said they had used a solarium in the past year.
“It is encouraging to see that now so many Victorians reject using solariums. The retiring of commercial solariums is another important step forward,” Mr Harper said.
Mr Harper said Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world and more than 2000 Australians die of skin cancer every year.
“Studies have also shown that those who use a solarium before the age of 35 have a 59% greater risk of melanoma than those who do not. It’s great to see that so many Victorians now recognise the potential dangers associated with solariums and support the incoming ban on their commercial use.
“Despite few Victorians using solariums now, we will continue to see the negative impact of solariums for decades to come. Anyone who has used a sunbed should keep a close eye on their skin, and head straight to the doctor if they notice changes.”
A lead clinician-researcher in the campaign to ban solariums in Victoria, Professor Grant McArthur of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said the impending ban was a testament to the efforts of his patient, Clare Oliver, who campaigned to the last weeks before her death to raise awareness of the dangers of solarium use.
“Clare spent the final weeks of her life speaking out about solariums. Her story resonated with people right across Australia, and really helped turn the tide against pro-tanning attitudes. This ban is a testament to Clare and her supporters’ fight,” Prof McArthur said.
Whether from the solarium or the sun, a tan is a sign of skin cells in trauma. This summer, SunSmart urges Victorians to remember to protect their skin using a combination of sun protection – clothing, sunscreen, hats, shade and sunglasses.
Check the sun protection times each day via the free SunSmart app or at sunsmart.com.au
Table 1: Victorian adults support for solarium bans, and solarium usage in 2013-14
||Number of adults (%)
| Support the government ban on solariums (strongly/mildly agree)
| Have ever used a solarium
| Have used a solarium in the last 12 months