Cancer Council has issued a warning to young Queenslanders about the dangers of sunbaking during the Easter break, with new research showing 34 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds still like to get a tan.
The National Sun Protection Survey data found 16 per cent of young Queenslanders still believe a suntanned person is healthier, and 37 per cent consider their risk of getting skin cancer as low.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the findings were alarming.
“It’s concerning that so many young Queenslanders still desire a tan, and think that tanned skin is a sign of health,” Ms Clift said.
“There is nothing healthy about sunbaking – even before the skin changes colour, significant damage can occur, greatly increasing the risk of cancer.
“Sunburn can occur in just 15 minutes at any time of year in Queensland, even on cooler winter days when the temperature is lower.
“Teens also need to be mindful that sun exposure adds up during the day and can significantly damage skin and cause sunburn.”
The national survey also found 72 per cent of Queenslanders aged 18-24 supported the government’s full ban on solariums, which took effect on 31 December, 2014.
“Despite the full ban on solariums, the sun is just as dangerous and young people need to be aware of the risk and protect their skin from this harmful source of ultraviolet radiation,” Ms Clift said.
“Our message to young Queenslanders is that no suntan is safe, and baking in the sun can be just as lethal as an artificial tanning bed.
“We urge all Queenslanders to follow five steps to being SunSmart this Easter: Slip on protective clothing; Slop on SPF 30 or above broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen; Slap on a broad-brimmed hat; Seek shade; and Slide on wrap-around sunnies.”
Every day, around 370 Queenslanders are told they have skin cancer. About 133,000 non-melanoma skin cancers and 3000 melanomas are diagnosed across the state each year.
Sun protection is required when the UV Index is three and above, which is all year round in Queensland.
If you’re heading to the beach or enjoying the great outdoors this Easter, check out the sun protection times each day at sunsmart.com,au or bom.gov.au/uv, or install Cancer Council’s SunSmart app.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
*2013-14 National Sun Protection Survey, Cancer Council, 2014.