Commercial sunbeds will now be banned in most Australian states and territories. Cancer Council Australia welcomed the ban as Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. It is estimated that the ban would help to reduce rates of skin cancer, which affects two out of three Australians by age 70.
The ban will come into force in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and in the Australian Capital Territory on January 1. This will make Australia the second nation after Brazil to impose such a restriction. Western Australia is also set to implement a ban, though it has yet to announce a start date. There are no commercial solariums in the hot and humid Northern Territory.
Advocacy director Paul Grogan said, "Solariums expose users to extremely highly levels of UV (ultraviolet) radiation, greatly increasing their risk of melanoma and other skin cancers."
Interim Health Minister of Queensland, Mark McArdle, said, "Queensland already has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and there is no question there's a direct link between regular sunbed use and the incidence of malignant melanoma."
Previous research has also suggested that the use of sunbeds by people aged 18-39 increases their risk of developing melanoma, the most common form of cancer among young Australians. Australia's proximity to Antarctica, where there is a hole in the ozone layer which normally filters out UV rays, also increases the risk of skin cancer. Over 2000 Australians died from skin cancer in 2011, the majority from melanoma, which is caused by harmful ultraviolet light from the sun.
The ban has been supported by a majority of Australians.