The AMA is calling for urgent regulation of the booming solarium industry to protect young Australians from developing deadly skin cancers.
The AMA Public Health Committee has developed a draft policy following the death of skin cancer awareness campaigner, 26 year old Claire Oliver, from melanoma thought to be related to solarium use when she was a teenager.
AMA Federal Councillor and dermatologist, Associate Professor Stephen Lee, said today there is no such thing as absolutely harmless solarium tanning and the continued unregulated use of solariums was a health hazard for all Australians.
"Anyone - especially children and young people - can develop skin cancer from intermittent recreational exposure to UV rays."
The AMA wants nationally consistent regulation governing the operation of solariums, including the following measures:
· Prohibited access for people aged under 18
· Fully informed consent from all potential users, based on protocols developed with the relevant medical bodies, such as the Australasian College of
· Dermatologists or the Cancer Council of Australia
· Comprehensive training for all solarium operators
· Prohibited use of unsupervised solarium units
"People are drawn to solariums because of fashion trends and the growing popularity of the 'tanned look'," Associate Professor Lee said.
"People believe it's a sign of a healthy lifestyle. In reality there is nothing healthy, or sexy, about skin that is chronically UV-damaged.
"Teenagers are particularly at risk of being convinced by advertising and peer pressure to attain the fashionable body image."
The AMA will urge the Federal and State and Territory Governments to launch public awareness campaigns about the health risks of using solariums.
"Solariums users may be exposed to intense UVA and UVB rays that are stronger than the midday sun," Associate Professor Lee said.
"Solarium users and potential users must be educated about how repeated exposure puts them at an increased risk of potentially fatal skin cancers, especially if the users are under 35."