Salons flout rules on sunbed use, survey finds

Laws banning under-18s from using sunbeds appear to be working, but salons are still using illegal discounted deals to encourage sunbed use.

Salons flout rules on sunbed use, survey finds

An undercover survey carried out in the Dublin region by the Irish Cancer Society found that all five salons it visited told the fair-skinned 17-year-old girl she could not use a sunbed because of the under-18 ban brought in last July.

In four out of the five salons the fair-skinned girl was advised that in order to build up a tan she would need to use a sunbed for 4-5 minutes three times a week. One salon advised the girl that darker skin types could tan for a maximum of 15 minutes per session and encouraged the use of a tan accelerator.

Two of the salons had price-based promotions for discounted minutes. These included a 30% discount before 2pm, loyalty card schemes and a 50% discount for a session card.

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The second phase of the Public Health Sunbeds Act 2014, introduced in March 2015 made reduced price promotions which encourage sunbed use illegal.

One salon advised the girl surveying for the Irish Cancer Society not to use sunbeds at all — even after she turns 18 — because of her fair skin.

This survey was carried out in March in Dublin city centre and the girl was seeking advice on building up a tan for a wedding in June.

Commenting on the survey findings, head of advocacy with the Irish Cancer Society, Kathleen O’Meara, said she was “concerned” that some salons were still offering discounted deals and price-based marketing practices encouraging sunbed use which were clearly against the law.

“Alarmingly, one salon advised the fair-skinned girl to increase her sunbed use to eight to nine minutes per session [after she turns 18], and encouraged the use of a tan accelerator.

“While we appreciate it will take some time for the second phase of the legislation to take effect, we urge Government to ensure that tanning salons are compliant with all elements of the sunbed legislation.”

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