The SunSmart program, jointly funded by Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) since 1988, leads the world in UV protection.
Internationally, Cancer Council Victoria was designated a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborative Centre for Ultraviolet Radiation in 2004, and re-designated in 2008 and 2012. Supporting SunSmart at Cancer Council Victoria is the Prevention Division, the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, the Cancer Epidemiology Centre and the Cancer Information and Support Service.
The aims of the SunSmart program are to minimise the human cost of skin cancer in Victoria. We have also taken a leadership role promoting a balance between the benefits and harms of ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure and the links with vitamin D.
The SunSmart program objectives for 2013–17 include to:
- Build the capacity of priority organisations and settings to play a role in managing the effects of UV exposure on health.
- Advocate for supportive environments and infrastructure to ensure a balanced approach to UV exposure.
- Improve the awareness and knowledge amongst priority population groups of UV through the communication and active dissemination of key messages information and resources.
- Identify, establish and maintain strategic partnerships to work towards common goals.
- Demonstrate leadership and good practice in UV protection evaluation and research to guide the SunSmart program.
- Ensure systems are in place to operate as an effective and efficient program.
SunSmart implements a combination of interventions to affect individual sun protective behaviours balanced with advocacy for broader environmental and legislative change. Ninety per cent of Victorian early childhood centres and primary schools are members of the SunSmart Program. SunSmart also works with secondary schools, workplaces, health professionals, local government and sporting clubs to promote a healthy UV exposure. This intensive community-level work is underpinned by population-wide media campaigns that communicate key messages and reinforce positive social norms around tanning and sun protection.