Law changes bid to reduce cancer risk from use of sunbeds

New legislation governing the use of sunbeds came into force yesterday.

The rules are aimed at reducing the increased risk of skin cancer associated with the use of sunbeds. 

While welcoming the legislation, the Irish Cancer Society said they did not go far enough and called on the Government to ban outright the use of sunbeds by people with the palest skin.

The stricter rules will require registration of businesses, proper supervision, outlaw so-called ‘happy hours’ or free use of sunbeds and include a requirement that protective eyewear must be worn.

Announcing the new regulations which follow on restrictions introduced last year, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said it was an important second step in regulating sunbed use.

“The more that someone uses a sunbed, the higher the risk they will get skin cancer,” said Mr Varadkar.

“The incidence of skin cancer is increasing faster than any other type. More than 850 new cases of melanoma are reported in Ireland each year, with 150 Irish people dying annually. So this phase of sunbed measures is all about making sure adults know the risks.”

The first phase of restrictions came into effect last July with prohibitions on anyone 18 from using, hiring or buying a sunbed. 

This phase will compel operators to register with the HSE and to notify customers of the potential adverse health effects of using a sunbed. Health information must be provided to anyone intending to use, hire or buy a sunbed, warning signs must be displayed on sunbed premises and claims about the alleged benefit s of sunbed use on health will be banned.

Sunbed businesses are now required to notify the HSE, which will set up a list of notified businesses.

The latest round of restrictions was welcomed yesterday by the Irish Cancer Society.

Kathleen O’Meara, its head of advocacy and communications, said: “We campaigned for this legislation and we are delighted 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 the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, from any sunbed use is 20%.

This increases to 59% if the exposure was while the person was under 35.”

The Irish Cancer Society in partnership with the Department of Health will run an awareness campaign on the dangers of sunbeds from today. More information can be found on or 


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