Four Australian states will completely ban solariums at the end of this year.


Image: iStock


Commercial solariums will be banned from December 31 in South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.

A ban is unnecessary in the Northern Territory because there are no sunbed operators. Western Australia and Tasmania are yet to enforce proposed bans.

According to the Cancer Council, 43 Australians die each year from skin cancer associated with solarium use. Cancer Council Australia’s public health committee chairman Craig Sinclair said health groups were counting down the days to the ban.

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“It’s been estimated that up to 280 malignant melanomas a year are attributable to sunbed use and one in every six melanomas in young people are from sunbed use,” Mr Sinclair said.

“So there is no question that there is a direct link between regular use of sunbeds and malignant melanoma.”

The movement for change began with the compelling and tragic story of a young Melbourne woman, Clare Oliver, who campaigned in her final stages of melanoma to ban solariums.

Clare Oliver. (Image: ABC)


Ms Oliver was a regular tanner who died three weeks after her 26th birthday.

Even as the sun goes down on the controversial industry, there are still remaining solarium operators trying to capitalise on their final weeks in business.

Cheap sales are being advertised on tanning bed time.

Hundreds of businesses in Victoria and New South Wales have taken up the government buyback scheme, disposing of the appliances in exchange for up to $2,000.

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But other operators, unsatisfied with what they describe as less-than-market value, are trying to offload their solariums online to private buyers.

Trade website Gumtree has dozens of the machines listed for sale between $1,500 and $8,000.


Mr Sinclair said the Cancer Council would monitor any influx into the private environment and believed it was unlikely many will be bought domestically because of their sheer size and enormous power consumption.

"It certainly is a concern, clearly [the operators] had financial incentives to dispose of their machines properly and safely," he said.

The bracelet that tells you when to apply more sunscreen.

"To then try and offload them in the private market at a price that is probably not too much more than they would otherwise get through government assistance is a concern, because once these machines get into the private market it's obviously putting individuals at risk."

Melbourne beauty salon owner Amie Mita said she had been preparing her business for the change for months.

"So we're bringing in a lot of new beauty services. We're doing facials, waxing, we're doing makeup," she said.

Ms Mita has had clients offer to buy her solariums but said the machines were unsafe to use at home without proper training.

She plans to have a scrap metal company collect the machines in the new year.

Have you ever used a solarium? Do you support this ban?

A version of this story was originally published on ABC and has been republished with full permission.