Action on Sunbeds

Under 18s can no longer use a sunbed

After years of campaigning by the Irish Cancer Society the use of sunbeds is now controlled by law. From the 21st of July 2014 under 18s are banned from using sunbeds.

Every year, up to 28,000 children and young people risk their lives in search of a tan. Under the act it will be illegal for a sunbed operator to allow a person under 18 years old to use a sunbed.

In addition the Act will regulate the sunbed industry for the first time. It will:

  • Require sunbed operators to provide written information on the risks and dangers of sunbed use to clients;
  • Place a ban on certain promotional practices (e.g. early bird or “two for the price of one” offers); and
  • Prohibit sunbed operators from making health claims (for instance that a person should use sunbed before a sun holiday).

The link between sunbeds and skin cancer is clear - the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has placed sunbeds in the highest cancer risk category. This means that sunbed use is as carcinogenic as tobacco or plutonium.

In the last few months the Irish Cancer Society campaigned for the legislation to go further and ban those with the fairest skin types (type 1 and type 2) from using sunbeds. The Irish Cancer Society will continue to ask for this. In the meantime we have asked the government to ensure that sunbed operators will have to warn particular people of the risk to fair skin types.

In 2012, we asked you to help us make sure that legislation to protect children and young people was published by the Government. Hundreds of you emailed your TDs about the importance of sunbed legislation and signed a petition calling on the Minister for Health to prioritise the legislation. Now that legislation has been passed. 

Thank you for your support. It really made a difference.

You can see a copy of the Act here:

Date Last Reviewed: 
Monday, July 21, 2014