Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Sunbed law leads the way for NZ

Cancer Society praises new rules for Auckland but says ban must be the ultimate goal

The Cancer Society says the law will help control people's exposure to cancer-causing UV rays. Photo / Getty Images
The Cancer Society says the law will help control people's exposure to cancer-causing UV rays. Photo / Getty Images

Auckland has been credited with "leading the way" in the fight against sunbeds after passing a bylaw that requires all commercial sunbed businesses to be licensed.

Businesses will also be required to comply with a new code of practice that includes restricting the treatment to people 18 years and over.

Industry practitioners and public health advocates welcomed Auckland Council's new Health and Hygiene Bylaw and Code of Practice that will come into effect next month. The council is the first in the country to regulate the sunbed industry.

Chairman of the hearings panel, Councillor Dick Quax, said requiring commercial services to be licensed recognised their potential for serious harm, such as skin cancer.

"Licensing gives us a method to monitor areas where we believe there is the highest risk to people's health through poor practices, while the code of practice gives the industry a good guideline of what is acceptable," said Mr Quax.

The Cancer Society said the move by Auckland Council was a positive step and that it was leading the way for the rest of the country.

Melanoma, the fourth most common cancer in New Zealand, was potentially preventable as more than 90 per cent of melanomas were caused by UV exposure from the sun and sunbeds, said John Loof, the society's chief executive of the Auckland and Northland region.

"While we can't control people's sun exposure, we now can expect greater control over their use of sunbeds, thanks to Auckland Council." Mr Loof said Australia and New Zealand had the highest rates of UV-related cancer in the world and the bylaw was a step towards meeting recommendations of the World Health Organisation.

"Australia has already started to ban commercial sunbeds, and is expected to have a blanket ban across the country by the end of 2014. The New Zealand Government needs to follow Australia in this move and ban sunbeds altogether," he said.

Chief executive of the Melanoma Foundation, Linda Flay, said the Government now needed to take action and follow in the Auckland Council's footsteps.

Auckland skin cancer specialist Dr Chris Boberg said monitoring the use of laser and pulsed-light devices was also important because treatment of a melanoma by an untrained professional could result in late diagnosis of a type of cancer that could be life-threatening.

The managing director of NZ Laser and IPL Training Centre, Ruth Nicholson, said they were also in favour of the new regulations because they provided clarity around minimum training requirements.

They also ensured a safer industry with better protection for both consumers and operators.

- NZ Herald

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