12 Mary Street,
Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

HSE welcomes legal controls on use of sunbeds to protect against skin cancer

The Health Service Executive welcomes Minister Varadkar’s announcement today that the second phase of the Public Health (Sunbeds) Act 2014 is to come into force from the 2nd March 2015.

Over recent years there has been a growing body of evidence that the use of sunbeds should be restricted because of the associated increased risk of skin cancer and other health problems.   In 2003, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published guidance wherein it suggested that Governments should consider comprehensive legislation to govern the operation of sunbeds and this legislation “should be legally binding and be capable of local enforcement”.

The new legislation will be enforced by the Environmental Health Service of the HSE and introduces a wide range of measures related to the sale, hire and use of sunbeds including;

  • Prohibition on permitting use of a sunbed to under 18’s
  • Prohibition on sale or hire of sunbeds by under 18’s
  • Prohibition of unsupervised use of a sunbed
  • Notification of sunbed businesses to the HSE
  • Prohibition of certain marketing practices
  • Provision of health information
  • Provision of warning signs
  • Provision of protective eyewear

These controls are welcomed by the HSE as an important measure to both protect young people from a high-risk carcinogen, and to promote more informed choice amongst adults in relation to the use of sunbeds.

Dr Maurice Mulcahy, Regional Chief Environmental Health Officer with the HSE said: ‘This suite of regulations will now require sunbed users to be properly informed regarding the  health risks related to sunbed usage, to be provided with protective eyewear and to be protected from any marketing practices which may encourage excessive use.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that the risk of cutaneous melanoma is increased by 75% when the use of tanning beds starts before 30 years of age. It subsequently raised the classification of the use of UV tanning devices to Group 1 – namely, ‘carcinogenic to humans’.’

‘We will shortly be writing to all sunbed businesses and will also be actively engaging locally with them over coming weeks, to advise and explain how they can comply with these new legal requirements.’

The primary policy objectives of the Act are:

  1. to protect children and those under 18 years of age from the risk of skin damage, in view of their increased risk of developing skin cancer;
  2. to regulate the use of sunbeds by those over 18 years of age so as to reduce their likelihood, inter alia, of developing skin cancer, premature aging and damaging their eyes from exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR); and
  3. to generally promote a greater public awareness across all age groups, with a long term view to reduce the incidence of skin cancers

Further information is available at www.hse.ie/sunbeds

Enquiries or complaints in relation to non-compliance can be directed to:

Sunbed National Office
Environmental Health Service
HSE, Galway Business Park
Dangan, Galway
The email address is sunbeds@hse.ie

The phone number is 091 737350

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The medical centre was set up in 1983 by Dr. Colman Walsh and has expanded over the years. Today we have 6 GPs, practice nurses and other qualified personnel offering a friendly, family orientated service to the community.

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