Australia is trying to put a ban on tanning salons, or solariums as they call them, to fight unnecessary skin cancer diagnoses.

Nationwide curbs on solariums (AUS)

Geoff Strong | January 26, 2009 – 10:55AM

MUCH to the disgust of the solarium industry, the tough Victorian laws that resulted from Clare Oliver’s death 16 months ago are spreading Australia-wide.Victorian regulations such as banning solarium use by under-18s, mandatory skin tests and fines up to $680,000 will formally become law on February 1. And just to make sure the laws are obeyed, state Health Minister Daniel Andrews yesterday revealed that people aged under 18 will be visiting tanning centres undercover and attempting to use their services. “It’s a sting, if you like,” he said. Mr Andrews said the new laws were a reaction to Ms Oliver’s death to melanoma.In the last months of her life the 26-year-old fought a high-profile campaign against solariums, which she blamed for her illness. Also yesterday, Standards Australia announced its new guidelines for solarium use, which are being followed by regulations in most states. Similar to the Victorian laws, they also seek to restrict sunbed use to people over 18, ensure protective eyewear is used, and require staff to be trained in skin-type assessment and to ban people with unsuitable skin.While most state governments are adopting the new standards (NSW is still to decide), the fines vary widely, with Queensland imposing none, and other states from $20,000 to $50,000.Patrick Holly, a spokesman for the solarium industry, said the industry could cope if the laws were consistent Australia-wide.He also claimed new Queensland University research showed solarium use had a negligible contribution to melanoma compared with natural sunlight.”There is no conclusive proof solaria increase the chance of skin cancer. Clare Oliver was unclear about how many times she had used a sun bed. The reports vary from four to 10 times, but she admitted she spent much of her teen years at the beach.”Mr Holly said tanning was a lifestyle choice. “People feel better when they look at themselves in a mirror with a tan. Some years ago there was an attempt to introduce the pale and interesting look. Even models were not supposed to have  a tan. It flopped,” he said Mr Andrews also announced the Government would give $88,000 to the Cancer Council to continue its anti-tan “Fashion to die for” campaign.” People who use a solarium before the age of 35 have a 75 percent greater risk of melanoma than those who don’t,” he said.