Dublin Senator calls for VAT on sunbeds to be increased

Fine Gale Dublin Senator Catherine Noone has called for an increase in the VAT on sunbeds due to their classification as carcinogenic to humans.

With decades of research from various different organisations finding that deliberate sunbed exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) for cosmetic purposes has been driving up the incidence of skin cancers, Senator Noonne believes the time has come to take action.

“Under the VAT Consolidation Act 2010 – sunbed sessions are currently allocated a reduced VAT rate as it is deemed a service consisting of ‘care of the human body’. It is ranked alongside beauty treatments, yoga and nail salons – while paradoxically, the standard 23% VAT rate is applied to sunscreen.

“The concept of sunbed sessions coming under the category of ‘care of the human body’ is beyond ridiculous. There is strong scientific evidence of the link between skin cancer and sunbed use. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified sunbeams as ‘carcinogenic’ to humans, in the same category as plutonium and tobacco.”

The Dublin Senator says that in spite of overwhelming evidence about the dangers of sunbeds there is actually an increase in the amount of young Irish people using them.

“A recent IPSOS MRBI poll by The Irish Cancer Society shows that 150,000 people in Ireland used a sunbed in the last year, with 36,000 of them using a sunbed once a week.

“Moreover, the survey revealed a worrying increase in the volume of young people using sunbeds.

“As such, I am strongly support The Irish Cancer Society’s call to increase the VAT rate on sunbed sessions from 13.5% to the standard VAT rate of 23% in Budget 2018.”

A World Health Organisation report released in June said sunbed use is estimated to be responsible for more than 450 000 non-melanoma skin cancer cases and more than 10 000 melanoma cases each year in the United States of America, Europe and Australia combined.

The largest portion of users are women, and in particular adolescents and young adults.

The report goes on to outline policies taken by some countries to regulate sunbeams: either by banning them outright or limiting and managing their use.

Options to restrict access to sunbeds include setting an age-limit on use, preventing use by skin-sensitive populations, such as those with who freckle or burn easily, and banning unsupervised access.