Sunbed ‘happy hours’ to be banned under wider restrictions

Leo Varadkar announces measures including use of protective eyewear and warning signs

New restrictions on the use of sunbeds, including a ban on promotions and a requirement to use protective eyewear, are to be introduced next month.

New restrictions on the use of sunbeds, including a ban on promotions and a requirement to use protective eyewear, are to be introduced next month.

 

New restrictions on the use of sunbeds, including a ban on promotions and a requirement to use protective eyewear, are to be introduced next month.

Commercial operators will be prohibited from promoting sunbed ‘happy hours’, unlimited use offers or free trials under a second package of measures aimed at curbing the risk of skin cancer.

Under the statutory instrument signed by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, supervision will be required for the use of sunbeds and new hygiene standards are being introduced.

The regulation will also require operators to display warning signs and provide information on the risks, while health claims will be banned.

“The more someone uses a sunbed, the higher the risk they will get skin cancer. The incidence of skin cancer is increasing faster than any other type. So this phase of sunbed measures is all about making sure that adults know the risks,” Mr Varadkar said.

A ban on sunbed use by under-18s came into force after the passage of the Public Health (Sunbeds) Act last year. Mr Varadkar has now signed five statutory instruments mandating further changes to come into force on March 2nd next.

Welcoming the move, the Irish Cancer Society said it hoped the legislation would mark a turning point in attitudes to sunbeds. “The new regulations highlight the dangers of sunbed use for everyone, whatever your age or skin type. Sunbed use is as carcinogenic as tobacco or plutonium,” said head of advocacy and communications Kathleen O’Meara, .

More than 850 new cases of melanoma are reported in Ireland each year, with 150 people dying annually. Sunbed use has been linked to a higher incidence of skin and eye cancer.

The HSE said it planned to write shortly to all sunbed businesses to explain who they could comply with the new requirements.

Mr Varadkar said he didn’t favour an outright ban on sunbeds. “We don’t want a nanny state. We want to give people choice, to make their own decisions and, in some cases, even to damage their own health.”