Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. Solarium use in particular is associated with a significant increase in melanoma risk. Recently, state governments across Australia announced plans to ban commercial solarium use from December 31st 2014.
The present study aimed to examine the perceptions of Australians to the impending ban on commercial solaria.
Participants (N=488; 388 females, 100 males; mean age=26.02, SD=9.95, range=17-68 years) were recruited through online Facebook advertisements across Australia, South Australian university websites and solarium businesses in South Australia to complete a questionnaire on tanning behaviour and solarium usage. The majority of participants came from South Australia (81% SA; 14% Victoria; 5% from other states/territories).
Among participants, 17% had used a solarium at some point in their life; 4% at least once in the last 4 weeks (range=1-15 times) and 6% had used one in the last 12 months (range=1-180 times). Overall, 53% of participants were aware of the impending ban. 414 participants responded to an open-ended question regarding whether they supported the solarium ban. The response to the ban was overwhelmingly positive (77% in support, 11.5% were not in support, 11.5% had no opinion). In relation to post-ban intentions, of participants who had used solaria in the past (n=82), 35% were not in support of the ban, 12% intended to use privately owned sunbeds and 17% intended to spend a greater amount of time sun tanning.
These findings provide a high level of public support for the solarium ban, which will remove a risky source of ultraviolet radiation in Australia.Further steps may be needed to monitor the tanning behaviours of current solarium users post ban and their access to private sunbed use.