Background and Context:
In the decade up to 2006, there was a 500% increase in the number of solariums in Melbourne. 281 cases of melanoma and 43 deaths are caused by solariums in Australia every year.
To advocate to the State Government of Victoria to enable an outright ban of all commercial sunbeds in Victoria.
A range of advocacy and communication techniques were implemented including partnership development, media relations, grassroots campaigning, as well as digital media tactics to secure public and government support for a solarium ban.
After the announcement of a ban in New South Wales, a media event provided an opportunity to send the Minister for Health a letter signed by 161 clinicians from the Cancer Council Victoria’s Clinical Network (a representative oncology forum in Victoria) calling on the Victorian government to ban solariums.
A new coalition, ‘Switch off Solariums’ (SOS), was also formed comprising of five health groups including Cancer Council Victoria, the Australian Medical Association Victorian Branch, Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. and the Victorian Faculty of the Australasian College of Dermatologists. The SOS coalition co-signed a petition letter that was published on the change.org website calling on members of the public to show their support for a ban in Victoria. The coalition also sent letters to all Victorian Members of Parliament, urging them to support the introduction of a ban.
The Greens, an Australian political party, agreed to support the campaign and put forward a motion in parliament calling on the legislation to ban solariums. Both major parties supported the motion.
On 13 December 2012, the Premier announced a solarium ban for Victoria.
Outcomes/What was learned:
The key to success was utilising a long-term, comprehensive advocacy strategy, incorporating research and powerful personal stories, and working in partnership with other organisations to form a united front.