Call for Sunbed Ban

Since 2011 MelNet has joined with other key organisations in a call for tighter controls of sunbeds in New Zealand, initially arguing for regulation of the indoor tanning industry. At its Annual General Meeting on 6 November 2015, MelNet members unanimously agreed that sunbeds should be banned in New Zealand.

MelNet's Initial Call for Regulation

Despite the ever-increasing evidence of harm caused by sunbeds, New Zealand has no nation-wide regulations governing sunbed use, unlike many other countries. New Zealand has a voluntary standard for sunbed operators that includes ensuring all sunbeds are supervised and not allowing people under the age of 18 or with the fairest skin types to use them. Surveys by Consumer NZ have found that many operators do not comply with these standards.

MelNet's position from 2011 - 2015 was to advocate for the existing voluntary standard for sunbeds to become mandatory, which requires regulation.

A call for regulation was initiated in March 2011 by:

  • Cancer Society of New Zealand
  • Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Unit, University of Otago
  • Consumer NZ
  • Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand
  • New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated
  • MelNet

This call was unanimously endorsed by the 200 health professionals who participated in the national Melanoma Summit on 11 March 2011, and MelNet agreed to coordinate the efforts of all who seek such regulation.

The call for sunbed regulation also was supported by other leading organisations, including the

  • New Zealand Nurses Organisation
  • New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine
  • Nurse Education in the Tertiary Sector (NETS)
  • New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons
  • The Paediatric Society of New Zealand
  • General Practice NZ
  • The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
  • New Zealand College of Appearance Medicine
  • Women's Health Action Trust
  • Public Health Association of New Zealand Inc
  • New Zealand Society of Pathologists
  • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, including the Faculty of Radiation OncologyNew Zealand Medical Association.

Auckland Council Introduces Regulation

In 2013 the Auckland Council introduced the Health and Hygiene Bylaw and Code of Practice. The bylaw requires all operators of commercial sunbed services to obtain a licence from the council and to comply with minimum standards set out in the code of practice. The standards are based on AS/NZS 2635:2008 Solaria for Cosmetic Purposes (AS/NZS 2635:2008) and include a minimum of 18 years for use. You can find MelNet's submission to the Council in support of the bylaw here.

MelNet's 2015 Submission to the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill

In late 2014 the Health Select Committee sought public submissions on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill. The bill called for a ban on the use of sunbeds by those under the age of 18 years and was passed into law in late June 2016. You can find MelNet's submission on the Amendment Bill here.

MelNet Members Unanimously Call for Sunbed Ban

At its Annual General Meeting on 6 November, 2015, MelNet members unanimously agreed that sunbeds should be banned in New Zealand.

2015 Consultation on the Regulation of Solaria and Sunbed Hire Businesses

In mid 2015, when the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill was considered by the Health Select Committee, many submitters called for a ban or regulation of solaria (premises that provide UV tanning services on a commercial basis). In response, the Government decided in late 2015 to consult on options for the regulation of solaria and of businesses that hire out UV tanning devices (e.g., sunbeds) for use in private homes. Under the proposals set out in a consultation document, such businesses would need to be licensed. You can find a summary of MelNet's submission here and the full submission here.

Health Protection Bill makes sunbeds R18

On 30 June 2016 The Health (Protection) Amendment Bill was approved by the New Zealand Parliament, making sunbeds R18. The bill is due to take effect in early 2017. 

In its submission on the bill, MelNet congratulated the Minister and Ministry of Health for recognising the need to protect young consumers from the established dangers of sunbeds.  However, the submission also highlighted MelNet’s position that such restrictions are only an incremental step towards the ultimate goal of achieving:

  • A total ban of commercial subbed services
  • A total ban of the importation, manufacture, sale and rental of sunbeds for commercial and private use. MelNet understands that the Ministry of Health also is looking into whether licensing of premises and operators, and the introduction of mandatory standards, are appropriate.

Further Information About UV and Sunbeds

You can find further information and links to New Zealand and overseas resources relating to sunbeds here.

See also:

  • Recent NZ research showing that a ban would have little impact upon jobs in New Zealand 
  • Findings of the European Commission that there is no safe limit for sunbed use
  • A MelNet/Melanoma New Zealand media release relating to both of these findings.

December 2016