Removing access to commercial source of UV exposure is feasible, effective health policy and highly economical for government

June 30, 2020


Objective: To quantify the consequences of a total ban on indoor tanning for short-term regulatory enforcement, for consumers, and the longer-term health economic effects.

Methods: Instances of illegal solarium prosecutions and tanning bed confiscations in the state of Victoria (population 7 million) were obtained from government surveillance records. Consumer interest for indoor tanning and spray/fake tanning were assessed using Google Trends’ Search Volume Index (range 0 to maximum 100). Long-term health economic effects were estimated using a Markov cohort model.

Results: The Victorian Government completed 13 prosecutions and confiscated 39 illegal tanning units. Consumer interest for indoor tanning reduced to less than one quarter of pre-regulation seasonal peaks (Search Volume Index 12/48) while spray tanning interest remained high (70–88). For young Australians over their remaining lives, banning commercial indoor tanning is expected to avert 31,009 melanomas (−3.7%), avert 468,249 keratinocyte cancers (−3.6%) and save over AU$64 (US$47) million in healthcare costs and produce over AU$516 (US$375) million in productivity gains. 

Conclusions: Three years after the nationwide ban, regulation enforcement activities have decreased, and consumers have adopted substitute tanning methods.


Louisa G. Gordon, Craig Sinclair, Noel Cleaves, Jennifer K. Makin, Astrid J. Rodriguez-Acevedo, Adèle C. Green, Consequences of banning commercial solaria in 2016 in Australia, Health Policy, Volume 124, Issue 6, 2020, Pages 665-670, ISSN 0168-8510,

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