Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has called for an outright ban on the use of sunbeds.
Speaking during the debate on the Public Health (Sunbeds) Bill 2013, Senator Cullinane said:
"Sunbeds cause cancer. As legislators we have a duty to protect public health. In doing so we have to strike a balance between what might be seen as coercion and the use of legislation to encourage modification of social behavior.
“We have done this quite successfully in relation to smoking, although a lot remains to be done in that regard.
“There is almost a compulsion for sections of our population to have a permanent tan due to the widespread perception that a tan is necessary to appear attractive and even healthy.
“In contrast to smoking there is a widespread lack of awareness of the damage that sunbeds are doing. Legislation, to be effective, must go hand in hand with public education and awareness.
“Over 9,000 people were diagnosed with skin cancer in this State in 2010, nearly 900 with melanoma. There were over 150 deaths from skin cancer in 2011.
“The risk of developing cancer as a result of sunbed use is greater among the young. Yet the Irish Cancer Society researchers found that in 2010 some 28,000 young people under the age of 25 use sunbeds in this State – many of them on a weekly basis.
"Sinn Féin welcomes this Bill and urges the Minister to ensure it is accompanied by an effective public awareness campaign.”