Licensing of sunbed operators has been proposed - with other options including an outright ban or a campaign to discourage use of the tanning machines.

From today, people are being asked for their input on regulations that will require all sunbed operators to be licensed and to provide clients with information on the risks.

The changes are separate to legislation that is before Parliament at present that will ban commercial sunbed use for those aged under 18.

Public health advocates have called for a complete ban, given the well-established link between sunbed use and skin cancer.

Advertisement

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said there was an existing voluntary standard in place for the use of sunbeds, but this was often ignored.

"Because of the danger sunbeds potentially pose it's important to have a licensing and training regime that ensures there are no cowboy operators in this industry."

A consultation document, released today, proposes changes including:

• Licensing all sunbed premises and operators.

• Requiring that operators be trained to ensure the risks of sunbed use are minimised.

• Make sure clear information is provided to clients on the risks of using sunbeds.

The preferred option in the consultation document released today is for licensing and mandatory operational practices, but other options are outlined, including a campaign to discourage the use of sunbeds, and a ban on the provision of commercial sunbeds or their importation, manufacture, sale and rental.

Public consultation runs until February 12 next year.

Advertisement

Dr Coleman said the proposals complemented separate legislation that would restrict sunbed use to those aged under 18.

"Internationally there is a shift away from the use of sunbeds. For example, in Australia all UV services for cosmetic purposes will be banned by January 1 2016.

"The proposals aim to strike a balance between the rights of informed adults to access sunbeds, while at the same time ensuring operators know what they're doing."

Labour, NZ First and the Green Party have argued that tanning beds are not safe and offer no health benefits, and their use before 35 increases the risk of melanoma every year.

Labour health spokeswoman Annette King said anything other than a complete ban ignored the advice of numerous health professionals and organisations including the Cancer Society and Consumer NZ.