Vic state government introduces solarium ban legislation

Wednesday 16 October, 2013

Clare Oliver's lasting legacy

SunSmart and Cancer Council Victoria welcome the new solarium ban legislation passed in Parliament yesterday.

Craig Sinclair, Director of the Prevention Division at Cancer Council Victoria said: "Today we remember Clare Oliver and how she boldly spent the last weeks of her life, campaigning for solariums to be banned. Clare's efforts has brought about tremendous change - this legislation is her great legacy that will protect many others from a similar tragic fate."

Clare visited a solarium about 20 times in her early 20s and believed that these visits contributed to her diagnosis. There is a huge body of evidence showing that solarium use is irrefutably linked to skin cancer and last year 161 dermatologists, cancer specialists and clinicians wrote to the government demanding a ban.

A lead clinician in the campaign to ban solaria in Victoria, Clare's Medical Oncologist, Professor Grant McArthur, of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, said "People who visit solariums need to understand there is nothing attractive about melanoma; it is one of the fastest moving cancers, bringing with it an uncertain future and, in some cases, like Clare's, premature death. The good news is that melanoma is one of the most preventable cancers and I implore young people to heed Clare's warnings."

Mr Sinclair said: "Given that the solarium ban is not due to come into effect until the start of 2015, in 14 months' time, we want to remind Victorians that solariums are never safe. With every use, you are increasing your risk of melanoma and prevention is far better than cure. We also want to encourage operators to switch off solariums as soon as possible. The sooner solariums cease to operate in this state, the more lives will be saved."

"We encourage the government to develop an action plan for the safe disposal of the 458 tanning beds that are currently operating at commercial tanning salons throughout the state. By providing a free disposal program for solaria, the government can ensure that when the ban takes effect, these dangerous machines won't be sold to the private market and end up in people's homes."

The solarium ban will come into effect in Victoria in on 1 January 2015. It's estimated that 281 cases of melanoma and 43 deaths are caused by solariums in Australia every year. In addition to this, about one in six melanomas in Australians aged 18 to 29 can be prevented if solariums are banned.

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Each year around 2,000 Australians die from this almost entirely preventable disease. There are more than 11,000 new cases of melanoma and 1,500 deaths in Australia each year.

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