NZ banning sunbeds will have little impact on jobs

December 2, 2016


This research was conducted in response to the Ministry of Health’s consultation document on reducing harm from commercial sunbeds. One of the main negative impacts of banning the provision of sunbed services was thought to be potential business closure resulting in loss of jobs. We conducted a nationwide audit of businesses potentially providing sunbed services to test whether this is likely to be the case. We found that a ban would have no more than minimal impact on only a very small number of businesses and so we believe, like in Australia, all commercial sunbeds should be banned.



In the context of possible regulation, to quantify and describe: (1) indoor tanning businesses in New Zealand; (2) sunbeds available for sale on Trade Me©.


In January 2016, we conducted a national audit of businesses potentially providing sunbed services (solariums, beauty-salons, hairdressers, gyms and fitness centres) to assess the availability and cost of indoor tanning services (sunbeds and spray tanning). In addition, Trade Me©, New Zealand’s largest auction site for second-hand goods, was monitored for one year to determine whether ex-commercial sunbeds were being sold in the domestic market.


Overall, 176 businesses were currently providing sunbeds, which for most (92.4%), were supplementary to other ‘non-tanning’ services. Of 168 sunbeds for sale on TradeMe©, 42 were ex-commercial.


Given scientific evidence that there is no safe level of sunbed use for individuals of any age, a ban on commercial sunbed services would have a significant positive impact on skin cancer incidence. Since few New Zealand businesses depend on providing sunbed services, a ban would have minimal negative economic impact, affecting only a small number of businesses. There should be a total ban on the importation, manufacture, sale and rental of sunbeds for commercial or private use in New Zealand.


McNoe, BM and Reeder, AI.  Out of the frying pan, but not into the fire: quantifying commercial cosmetic tanning services in New Zealand to inform endgame regulation.  NZMJ. 2nd December 2016, Volume 129 Number 1446.

See also MelNet/Melanoma New Zealand media release

« Back to News