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Sunbeds Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Background and Policy Objectives

3.There has been expert advice available for many years to the effect that the cosmetic use of sunbeds, especially by children, should be discouraged because of the associated increased risk of skin cancer and other health problems.  Over a 25 year period, malignant melanoma skin cancer cases have nearly trebled.  Skin cancer is now the most common cancer in Northern Ireland and accounts for 28% of all individuals diagnosed with cancer.

4.The increased skin cancer rate is not entirely due to the use of sunbeds, but also to direct exposure to the suns ultraviolet rays.  However, there is now substantial evidence of the increased risks caused by sunbed use. Research shows that using sunbeds before the age of 35 can increase the risk of developing melanoma skin cancer by up to 75% and the mortality from melanoma due to sunbed use alone is estimated to be about 100 deaths per year in the UK.

5.The primary policy objective of the Department which underpins the Sunbed Act is the prevention of the use of sunbeds by persons under 18 years of age.  The Act is also intended to ensure that those over 18 years of age who intend to use sunbeds are better informed about the health risks of using sunbeds.  The purpose of the Sunbeds Act is to provide a clear legislative framework to which all sunbed premises will be required to adhere.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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