Auckland to crack down on sun beds

Last updated 14:54 27/06/2013

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Auckland will be the first city in the country to license sun beds and slap an age restriction on their use.

Auckland Council will require commercial sun-bed businesses to be licensed and comply with a new code of practice including restricting use to those 18 years and over.

The requirements are part of a new Health and Hygiene Bylaw passed by the super-city council's Governing Body today that will replace those of the seven former councils from July 1 next year.

Operators of other services that risk burning the skin, including laser and pulsed-light treatments, will also need licences to operate.

"Requiring these commercial services to be licensed recognises the potential for serious harm, such as skin cancer," said Councillor Dick Quax.

A sun-bed industry group welcomed the change.

"We welcome the new regulations which will provide clarity around minimum training requirements, ensuring a safer industry and better protection for both the consumer and the operator," NZ Laser and IPL Training Centre managing director Ruth Nicholson said.

The Cancer Society praised the council.

"Auckland Council is leading the way in New Zealand by being the first council to regulate and license sun-bed operators," John Loof, chief executive of Cancer Society Auckland Northland, said.

"Melanoma, the fourth most common cancer in New Zealand, is potentially preventable, as more than 90 per cent are caused by UV exposure from the sun and sun beds.

"While we can't control people's sun exposure, we now can expect greater control over their use of sun beds," Loof said.

Also caught in tightened health laws will be any businesses that "risk breaking the skin" - such as hair removal, manicure/pedicure and exfoliation

Licences will be required for commercial services that pierce the skin such as body piercing, tattooing and traditional tattooing.

Traditional and non-commercial ta moko undertaken by artists on, or under the authority of, a marae in the Auckland region would be exempt.

"Licensing gives us a method to monitor areas where we believe there is the highest risk to peoples' health through poor practices, while the code of practice gives the industry a good guideline of what is acceptable," Quax said.

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