March 2, 2015

New regulations on the use of sunbeds come into law today

From today sunbed operators will have to follow new regulations which will include bans on promotions that encourage sunbed use such as “happy hours” and loyalty cards as well as ensuring they provide their customers with information on the health risks of sunbeds before they use them. These new regulations form part of the second phase of the Public Health (Sunbeds) Act which comes into law today.

Last year saw the first phase of the Act introduced which made it illegal to allow a person under 18 years of age to use a sunbed. This is the first time the sunbed industry was regulated by law.

The regulations coming into force today include:

  • Sunbed operators must provide customers with information about the health risks of sunbeds and must ensure they sign a declaration to say they are aware of risks before use.
  • Certain marketing practices like "free of charge", "reduced price" or "unlimited use" promotions as well as happy hours, loyalty cards and bonus points are now banned.
  • Sunbed operators are also banned from making unsubstantiated health claims such as Sunbed tanning is safer than sun tanning or Sunbeds are needed for Vitamin D.
  • All sunbed operators will have to register with the HSE and pay an annual fee of €120.
  • Operators must display warning signs on the prohibition of use by anyone under 18.
  • Sunbed use on all premises must now be supervised, and the use of protective eyewear is compulsory.

Kathleen O’Meara, Head of Advocacy and Communications at the Society said “We campaigned for the last several years for this legislation and we are delighted that it is coming into force. A body of evidence has been built up that shows the clear link between sunbeds and skin cancer. We now know that the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, from any sunbed use is 20% and this increases to 59% if the exposure was while the person was under 35 years of age1."

“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. We would advise all people not to use sunbeds but it is vital that young people who are most at risk, are protected,” she said.

“We campaigned for the Government to take the legislation further and also include a ban on those with the fairest skin types from using sunbeds. People with the fairest skin types are twice as likely to get skin cancer, and up to 75% of Irish people fall into this category2. Unfortunately, the Act does not contain this ban and we would ask the Government to consider bringing in further legislation banning Type 1 and Type 2 skin types from using sunbeds. We don’t want anyone using sunbeds but it’s especially important to protect those most at risk.  

“We would like to acknowledge all those across the country who supported our work on this issue and who signed petitions and lobbied their local TDs on our behalf. It really made a difference.”

The Irish Cancer Society in partnership with the Department of Health will run an awareness campaign advising people to be aware of the dangers of sunbeds from today.


Find out more information about sunbeds  or visit #Sunbeds2015