NSW govt announces ban on sunbed – The NSW government has introduced a ban on sun beds for atheistic use in a landmark decision.
Going for an early morning surf, taking time out on the weekend to lie on a sandy beach or catching the last of the sun's rays in the evening is a part of the Australian summer.
And an outdoor lifestyle is often held responsible for our less than impressive statistics when it comes to skin cancer.
But in recent years many people, especially young women, have foregone the health advice of experts in favour of sunbeds for aesthetic purposes.
One of the most famous and perhaps unsettling examples of the long-term side effects of solariums is the case of Clare Oliver.
In 2007, a self-written letter about the twenty-six-year-old's struggle with melanoma and short life expectancy was published in newspapers across the country.
Her story was later broadcast on national television as part of a broader SunSmart campaign – The Dangers of a Deadly Tan (and Solariums) – which was led by the Cancer Council Victoria.
Ms Oliver passed away in September that year, but her legacy and campaign against artificial tanning is being credited by some parts of the media for the introduction of a new ban on solariums in New South Wales.
In a landmark decision the state government has announced that from 2014 tanning salons will no longer operate within NSW.
Robyn Parker, minister for the environment, said: "Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world and this ban is long overdue."
"Solaria use is associated with a range of skin cancers, including melanoma, which is the most life-threatening form of skin cancer among 15 to 39-year-olds."
Ms Parker made it clear that the government was doing all it could to promote greater skin care awareness in the community, as well as ease the impact of new laws on the solaria industry by giving them time to phase out the sun beds and adopt safer practices.
And while some members of the government feel the introductory date may be too late, it seems that officials from the Cancer Council are pleased with the new policy direction.
"I think the effect of today's announcement will be to send out a very strong message to the industry," asserted Cancer Council chief executive Dr Andrew Penman.
"I suspect the industry will start dismantling its capacity ahead of 2014 and I'm sure that people who potentially are users of these centres will really prick up their ears and understand the seriousness of the exposure they've subjected themselves to."