NEW data released in the lead-up to commercial solarium bans coming into force show that Australians are ready to ditch the potentially deadly machines.
Cancer Council’s National Sun Protection Survey shows that the majority of adults (79 per cent) and adolescents (67 per cent) support the incoming bans on solariums, which will be in place in most states and territories by 1 January 2015.
The survey of over 6000 participants also suggests that solarium use is now very low in the Australian population.
According to the chair of Cancer Council Australia’s National Skin Cancer Committee, Vanessa Rock, in 2013-14 only one per cent of adults and less than one per cent of adolescents said they had used a solarium in the past year.
“It is encouraging to see that so many Australians reject using solariums and the retiring of commercial solariums is another important step forward,” Ms Rock said.
“Studies have shown that those who use a solarium before the age of 35 have a 59 per cent greater risk of melanoma than those who do not.”
Only two per cent of adolescents and 12 per cent of adults reported having used a solarium in their lifetime, with more women (18 per cent) and adults aged 25-44 (16 per cent) having ever used a solarium.
Bans of commercial sunbeds come into place in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania ACT and Queensland by the 1 January 2015. Western Australia has announced that they will also be banning sunbeds, although the date is yet to be announced. There are no commercial solariums currently operating in the Northern Territory.
Cancer Council’s survey found that the majority of adults (59 per cent) were aware of the impending bans. However, awareness was lower among adolescents, with only 17 per cent reporting they knew that bans were coming into place.
Ms Rock said Australia had one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world and over 2000 Australians died of skin cancer each year. “It’s great to see that so many Australians recognise the potential dangers associated with sunbeds and support the incoming bans on their commercial use.
“Despite few Australians using solariums these days, we will continue to see the impact decades into the future. Any Australian who has used a sunbed should keep a close eye on their skin, and head straight to the doctor if they notice changes.”