Two out of five sunbed operators fail to ask for proof of age – survey

Mystery shopper exercise showed one in three did not refuse to book minors

Two out of five sunbed operators fail to ask an underage person their age, according to a mystery shopper survey.

One in three did not refuse to book minors while two out of five didn’t ask for identification. Sunbed businesses are legally prohibited from allowing under 18s to use sunbeds.

The survey was carried out for the Irish Cancer Society by Ipsos MRBI across 40 tanning and beauty salons in Dublin.

The Irish Cancer Society said the Government must “crack down” on rogue operators.


"It is shocking to see that two out of five sunbed operators are not complying with the requirement to ask customers their age, and many are making bookings for under 18s," said chief executive, Averil Power.

“Sunbed legislation is there to protect young people who are at the highest risk of developing skin cancer.

"It is also alarming so many adults continue to use sunbeds regularly given the clear link with skin cancer. Almost 12,000 people get skin cancer in Ireland each year, more than any other cancer. 1,110 of those are diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease."

The survey also found that one in four sunbed operators offered free sunbed minutes and one in five used two-for-one promotional offers, which the society says are in “clear breach” of sunbed legislation.

Ms Power said the Irish Cancer Society is concerned to see operators “flouting sunbed legislation”.

“We’re calling for greater resources to be made available so that Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) who check for compliance and safety can carry out more inspections of sunbeds and sunbed operators, and that those found to be breaching the law are punished,” she said.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times