Sunbed operators who allow use by under-18s will face prison

FF urge new Bill to be introduced ahead of First Holy Communion season

Tanning salons will be obliged to warn users  of the dangers under the Public Health (Sunbeds) Bill.

Tanning salons will be obliged to warn users of the dangers under the Public Health (Sunbeds) Bill.

Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 01:00

Sunbed operators who allow anyone under 18 years of age to use their facilities or who claim health benefits for tanning booths, will face severe penalties including prison, under legislation introduced in the Dáil.

Minister for Health James Reilly warned of the damage caused by sunbeds, including cancer, particularly to children.

He outlined the increasing rate of skin cancer in Ireland, including 852 cases of melanoma each year. He told the Dáil that 156 people died annually from the disease in Ireland and that in 2011 more than 7,000 suffered skin cancer.

Dr Reilly said long-term treatment and its cost on individuals, families and the health system could not be underestimated, and “much of this disease is avoidable”.

The Public Health (Sunbeds) Bill bans under-18s from using sunbeds and regulates their use by adults. The Minister said this was not a “nanny state”, but the State wanted to protect people.

While adults could use tanning facilities, operators would be obliged to warn them of the dangers.

Self-service or coin-operated sunbeds will be banned, as will marketing strategies – such as offering every 10th session free.

Tanning salons will also be banned from claiming health benefits, such as that a sunbed tan offers protection against sunburn before a sun holiday.

Fines will begin at €4,000, with prison terms from six months upwards.

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher welcomed the Bill and said it should be passed before the start of First Holy Communion season.

Sinn Féin health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said “sunbeds cause cancer”. “It is as simple as that,”he said.