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Advocacy: Solariums – switched off

Posted by Cairin

On 13 December 2012, the Premier announced a solarium ban for Victoria as part of the new state skin cancer prevention framework.

Solariums are dangerous, unnecessary, outdated and irrefutably linked to skin cancer and our research shows that compliance with current regulations is poor.

We have worked hard over the last year to lobby the government for a ban on solariums, in Victoria and nationally. Following the announcement in February of a ban by the end of 2014 in NSW, we stepped up our advocacy efforts in the second half of 2012.

In September, we commemorated the fifth anniversary of Claire Oliver's death from melanoma, and sent the Minister for Health a letter signed by 161 dermatologists and cancer specialists and clinicians of the Victorian Co-operative Oncology Group, calling on the Victorian government to follow the lead of NSW and ban solariums in this state.

When South Australia also announced a ban, we once again urged the government to take action to prevent Victoria from becoming a dumping ground for solariums from other states.

We formed a new coalition, ‘Switch off Solariums', comprising Cancer Council Victoria, the Australian Medical Association Victorian Branch, Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc and the Victorian Faculty of the Australasian College of Dermatologists and launched a petition calling on public support for a ban.

The coalition sent letters to all the Members of Parliament showing how few solariums remain in their electorates, and urging them to support the introduction of new legislation banning solariums in this state.

This ban will save the lives of Victorians and save many from experiencing the devastating effects that skin cancer has on patients and their families.

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Each year almost 1,900 Australians die from this almost entirely preventable disease. There are more than 10,000 new cases of melanoma and 1,400 deaths in Australia each year.

Two hundred and eighty-one cases of melanoma and 43 deaths are caused by solariums in Australia every year. It is estimated that about one in six melanomas in Australians aged 18–29 could be prevented if solariums were shut down. The solarium ban is to come into effect in Victoria in 2014.

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