Irish Cancer Society CEO Averil Power presenting report
February 27, 2019

Mystery Shopper Survey shows 2 out of 5 sunbed operators fail to ask under 18s their age

Irish Cancer Society says Government must ‘crack down’ on rogue operators

The Irish Cancer Society has launched its latest sunbed mystery shopper survey. The survey, carried out for the Society by Ipsos MRBI, has shown that 2 out of 5 operators offering sunbed sessions didn’t ask an underage person their age, 2 in 5 did not ask for identification and 1 in 3 did not refuse to book minors.

This is despite the fact sunbed businesses are legally prohibited from allowing under 18s to use sunbeds.

Averil Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society said: “It is shocking to see that 2 out of 5 sunbed operators are not complying with the requirement to ask customers their age, and many are making bookings for under 18s. 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.”

There is a 75% increased risk in melanoma when people begin tanning regularly before the age of 35.

The Society’s mystery shopper survey, carried out by Ipsos MRBI across 40 tanning and beauty salons in Dublin, also showed that 1 in 4 sunbed operators offered free sunbed minutes and 1 in 5 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. They’ve had almost five years to comply and need to get their act together.”

“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”.

More information about sunbeds and cancer