Heat's on to ban solariums

COAST solariums could soon find themselves out of business if the State Government follows NSW in declaring them illegal.

But at least one operator says the move would be unfair as solariums are healthier than people trying to get a tan out in the sun.

New laws announced yesterday will see solariums banned in NSW by 2015 and the Cancer Council Queensland has called on the State Government to follow the lead.

The council claims research has shown that using a solarium before the age of 30 increases a person's risk of developing melanoma by 75%.

But Sunshine Coast solarium owner Angie Harrington said tanning in a solarium was healthier for people than being in the sun.

"You never know how hot it is and how much you are burning when you're outdoors, but at a solarium it is monitored," she said.

Strict regulations governed what skin types could use solariums and the industry was well monitored.

Ms Harrington, who has been in the industry for 10 years and owned Sorrento Tanning and Beauty salon in Mooloolaba for one year, said people should make tanning decisions under the age-old saying "everything in moderation".

"If they are banning things that aren't good for your health they should be starting with cigarettes and alcohol," she said.

"But the government makes too much money on those to ban them."

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Anne Savage said evidence had shown a direct link between solarium use and skin cancer.

"No solarium can provide a safe tan," she said.

"Other adverse health effects include premature aging, such as wrinkling, irregular pigmentation and altered skin texture, as well as eye damage.

"Solarium use can be lethal and all users are at significantly increased risk of dying prematurely from a preventable disease."

Ms Savage said current regulations in Queensland demonstrate the State Government's commitment to protecting public health, but more needed to be done.

"We are calling for bipartisan support for a total ban on solariums in Queensland, to be phased in over three years," she said.

"As a community we must stand up to prevent cancer.

"More than 2600 Queenslanders face a potentially life-threatening diagnosis of melanoma each year and nearly 300 Queenslanders die of the disease. With community and government support, we can end the tragic epidemic of skin cancer in Queensland."

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