Fianna Fáil has published legislation to bring about stricter controls on the use of sunbeds. Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher said “the use of sunbeds needs to be controlled to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. 140,000 people in Ireland use sunbeds on a regular basis and of these, 20% are between the ages of 15-24 years.”
He pointed out that skin cancer is now the most common type of cancer in Ireland with the rate of skin cancer is rising each year. According to the Irish Cancer Society, there are over 8,000 new cases of skin cancer every year in this country.
“Children are at particular risk when using sunbeds. Research has found that there is a 75% increase in the risk of coetaneous melanoma when people begin using sunbeds regularly before the age of 30 years. This is the most lethal form of skin cancer,” maintained Mr Kelleher.
“I will be bringing legislation before the Dáil next month which would prohibit the use of sunbeds by anyone under 18 and I am urging TDs from all parties, and Independents, to the Bill. As well as implementing an age restriction other regulations are proposed in order to ensure that all people have access to the necessary information on the risks of sunbed use. Such regulations are already in place in Northern Ireland, and children south of the border should be similarly protected.”
In May 2011 Health Minister James Reilly told the Dáil that legislation on sunbeds would be introduced into the Oireachtas before the end of 2011. Deputy Kelleher said: “We are introducing this Bill as the Minister has failed to achieve this objective and is showing a lack of urgency in dealing with the matter. I would urge all TDs, but particularly those in Fine Gael and Labour to support this legislation. Reducing the risk that children are exposed to cancerous radiation is a major public health issue and must be taken seriously.”