6 February 2012
University of Sydney academics praise sunbed ban
A NSW government decision to ban solariums has been welcomed by University of Sydney researchers who were among those
advising the government to institute a ban.
“This decision by the NSW government is groundbreaking. NSW is the first state in Australia to propose such legislation
and Australia will be only the second country in the world, after Brazil, to take this step,” said Professor Bruce Armstrong
of the Sydney Medical School
who in 2011 co-authored the Australian Melanoma Family Study (AMFS) report.
“Our study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, was the first to examine the association of sunbed use
with melanoma occurrence in younger adults. It found that the use of sunbeds by young people aged 18 to 39 years
increased their risk of developing melanoma by an average 41 percent.”
“The study showed how vulnerable young people in particular are to the danger of sunbeds”, said Dr Anne Cust a chief
investigator on the AMFS, also from Sydney Medical School at the University.
“It estimated 16 percent of melanoma cases in patients aged 18-29 years and three percent in patients aged 30-39 years
would be prevented by avoiding sunbed exposure.”
The Australian Melanoma Family Study findings were the result of a research collaboration between the University of
Sydney, University of Melbourne, Westmead Institute of Cancer Research, Melanoma Institute Australia, Cancer Council
Victoria and Cancer Council Queensland.
The state government’s decision to legislate was also applauded by Professor of Public Health, Simon Chapman who has
championed legislative action.
“Solariums are not like spray tan studios, catering to fashion victims. They are cancer incubators. I am delighted by
this decision which is also a testament to the advocacy of the melanoma survivor Jay Allen.”