Public Health (Sunbeds) Bill 2013: Committee Stage

SECTION 1

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 3, line 32, after “structure,” to insert “a vessel,”.

Is the amendment agreed to?

We need to draw breath, as this is a very important Bill. It is part of a story that will continue post its adoption. It might not be even necessary in more enlightened times. In it we are concentrating on younger people and for that reason, I will accept the Minister's amendments. I hope he will note the amendments I have tabled. I signal that I will table others on Report Stage.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 1, as amended, agreed to.
Section 2 agreed to.
SECTION 3

Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 are related and will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 4, lines 29 and 30, to delete “or the sale or hire of sunbeds” and substitute “the sale or hire of sunbeds or the advertisement or promotion of the use, sale or hire of sunbeds”.

I welcome the Minister's amendment. The stronger wording extends the remit of the Bill, which is critically important. The Bill has been designed to protect the public, in particular young people. I hope its provisions will inform those who still have the right to exercise their choice to move away from the use of these facilities and that in time this will be achieved. I support the amendment.

I thank the Deputy for his support.

My silence should not be interpreted as a failure to support the amendment. I, too, support it.

I also thank Deputy Kelleher for his support.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 3, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 4
Question proposed: "That section 4 stand part of the Bill."

Before we proceed further, I wish to make a general comment. I have tabled two of the seven amendments on the list. I indicate my intention to table further amendments to sections 4 and 5 on Report Stage. I thank the Irish Cancer Society which has framed the proposed amendments for its continued interest in the issue.

It is important to recognise different skin types and take the opportunity presented by the Bill to include members of the public with skins types 1 and 2. While I have indicated my intention to introduce further amendments on Report Stage, I appeal today to the Minister to consider tabling amendments to this section. I would support such an initiative on his part. Perhaps he might use the opportunity in the intervening period before Report Stage to consider such amendments. His imprimatur is an absolute guarantee of success in the Dáil Chamber.

The wording of the amendments prepared by the Irish Cancer Society is eminently sensible and their application is undisputed. They would protect people who may not realise how prone they are to the adverse effects of exposure to sunbed use. There is a significant cohort of Irish people with skin types 1 and 2. The amendments are not only about protecting but also informing the wider public of the dangers involved and ultimately dissuading them from using this equipment in the future. I have the proposed wording of the Report Stage amendments.

I can copy my amendments to the Minister for his consideration over the intervening period.

I know this is going to be a relatively quick meeting. However, I ask the Chairman to be patient with me as I read what I propose to table on Report Stage into the record.

Prohibition on permitting the use of sunbeds by certain persons

4A (1) The owner, manager or employee of a sunbed business shall not sell the use of a sunbed on a sunbed premises to a person unless--

(a) the owner, manager or employee has assessed the person’s skin type in accordance with the Fitzpatrick skin photo type classification system; or

(b) the person has provided the owner, manager or employee with a certificate from a medical practitioner that certifies that the medical practitioner has assessed the person's skin type in accordance with the Fitzpatrick skin photo type classification system and states the results of that assessment.

(2) A person whose skin type is assessed as Type I or Type II under subsection (1)(a) or (b) shall not be permitted to use a sunbed on the sunbed premises.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) commits an offence.

Section 5 is similar and the wording is a repeat of 4A(1), except the latter section uses the term "A person shall not sell" instead of "The owner, manager and employee ... shall not sell".

That is the gist of both amendments to sections 4 and 5. That is the kernel of it and the intent is self-evident. I do not expect the Minister to indicate at this point but I hope that over the intervening period he will give serious consideration - preferably favourable consideration - to their inclusion on Report Stage, and in his name if possible.

I thank the Minister for tabling the legislation, which I strongly support.

I, too, ask to be indulged for a minute. I should have asked the Minister the following question when discussing the section on regulation. Can he clarify the sort of regulations he intends to have that will warn people about the dangers posed by sunbeds at the location of their use? Will the regulations include a reference to the skin types that are most vulnerable to damage from the use of sunbeds? How will they be enforced? Using sunbeds is not the same as smoking cigarettes, which automatically carry a warning on every package, because warnings about sunbeds will be hidden behind closed doors. I also thank the Irish Cancer Society for the work it has done on this matter.

I thank the Minister for introducing the Bill, which I welcome wholeheartedly. I also thank him for the work he has done on the legislation.

The legislation is directed at people using sunbeds who are under 18 years of age, but I worry about people who are over that age. I also worry about people around 18 years of age who work in sunbed salons but do not understand how dangerous sunbeds are. When a constituent of mine went to use a sunbed, the lady in attendance switched on the machine but just told him to get on to the sunbed. She gave him no directions whatsoever. He put the cleaning agent provided for the sunbed on his skin, believe it or not, and got very badly burned. As a result he could not work or anything else. Directions are given such as "Do not use a sunbed if you have had skin cancer in the past." Unfortunately, what a person goes into any of these salons, he or she just signs a document without reading it, and I worry that such practices will continue.

I know other members are worried about skin colour, and I have read the submission. I too would like the Minister to look at the matter before we commence Report Stage. I understand that there may be legal problems around this, but it has been legislated for in other countries. Why can we not legislate for it here?

I want the Minister to address the use of sunbeds by those over 18, maybe 19- to 21-year olds, because they are still young and they may not realise the dangers of sunbeds and that one can get badly burned. We advised the constituent I mentioned earlier to go to a solicitor to see if he could pursue the matter legally. That is the point I would like to make for older people.

I intend to move amendments that will be in line with Deputy Ó Caoláin's amendments based on those circulated by the Irish Cancer Society.

We all welcome the legislation. It has received universal approval and acceptance, so I hope it will be embraced in terms of the message it sends out.

I assume members will have seen the amendments suggested by the Irish Cancer Society. I am not sure whether they have been circulated to everyone but I imagine that they were. My query is about skin types 1 and 2. We are banning sunbed usage for under 18s and it is a given that everyone will comply. There could be legal obligations with regard to identifying people based on a skin type to determine whether he or she can use a sunbed, which I accept. We will table amendments with the sole purpose of trying to tease out some way of addressing the matter through strong advertising and placing an obligation on people to inform users of sunbeds that if they have skin type 1 or 2 they are more likely and have a greater chance of contracting skin cancers such as melanoma. I am not sure whether we can do this, but I understand the difficulties the Minister is faced with. The amendments still merit tabling, if only to see if we can come up with an imaginative way to raise awareness of the dangers posed to individuals with skin types 1 and 2 among the broader public. Also, the operators of sunbed premises should have a responsibility placed on them to inform each and every person who enters their premises of the risks involved. I refer to the risks that are more prevalent in people with skin types 1 and 2 as identified under the Fitzpatrick skin type classification. That is my purpose. We live in a world with constraints, and people have civil liberties, rights and entitlements. Equally, there is an obligation on the Minister, his Department, the HSE and everybody concerned to minimise the risks to individuals. We should at least have an education programme. There should be an obligation on people to inform others of the risks associated with using sunbeds.

When it comes to cigarettes, we do not expect every shopkeeper to tell the purchaser that cigarettes are bad for him or her. Packets carry warnings that provide people with enough information that cigarettes are bad. Anybody who buys cigarettes now but is not aware that they are bad for one's health has not been living in the same environment as the members and I for the past number of years.

With regards to sun damage, an awful lot of people go on holidays every year. Advertising campaigns have advised people to use sun cream, etc. with a high factor to protect them from the damaging effects of the sun. However, people still insist on travelling to Spain, togging off and getting sunburnt in the hope of enhancing their tans. Therefore, we must find clever ways to target groups of people. The cohort of people that we wish to speak to may not be the kind who listen to us in general. They are younger, full of the joys of life and confident, yet year in, year out one sees them on holidays pasting themselves with sun enhancers instead of sun protection.

What if we are restricted in warning people due to a lack of legislation that targets groups with certain skin types? I hope the Minister will introduce robust regulation to oblige users and suppliers to address the issue.

I appreciate the sentiments expressed by the Deputies across. I would have very strong views on this issue. I am a great believer in prevention being better than cure. Healthy Ireland, the cross-Government initiative to improve the nation's health is very important and is the first of its type. That picture of the Cabinet holding it up was alluded to at a WHO conference in Europe last week. We are involved in many important public health initiatives around tobacco, as Deputy Billy Kelleher has alluded to, and around exercise, the challenges that obesity and overweight present, the challenges in this area and around alcohol abuse.

We are continually accused of being a nanny state. We have made it clear we are not a nanny state, that we believe in the constitutional rights of Irish citizens. I have the highest respect and regard for the Irish Cancer Society and consider an ally in the fight against both cancer and other public health threats, but I do not believe we have the right under the Constitution to interfere with adults if they decide to engage in risky behaviours. Therefore, I cannot ban adults from smoking cigarettes even though we know that one in two habitually develop cancer, which is a tobacco related illness. Nobody is suggesting that we do that and nobody is suggesting that we ban alcohol. I do not know how one would go about preventing people drinking excessively. We can take a range measures such as minimum pricing of advertising and reducing the exposure of young people to alcohol but we will not ban alcohol.

The whole issue around skin type is not as easy as it sounds. Many doctors will have difficulty in deciding whether a person has type 2 or type 3 skin while they might find it easy to decide on type 1. In any event, one is saying to me, as an Irish citizen with type 1 skin, that I do not have the same rights as persons with type 2, 3, 4 or 5. I do not think that will wash with the Irish people. We have to do what is sensible and reasonable and what people can adhere to without ending up needlessly being challenged in the courts. We would then have to go back to the European Union which would involve more delay. This Bill is a long time coming. My predecessor, Mary Harney, tried to get this Bill through. It has taken that length of time to get it to this Stage and I do not want it delayed any further.

I agree with Deputy Billy Kelleher about highlighting the dangers to people with skin types 1 and 2 and advertising and the education programmes that need to be undertaken. Banning adults and discriminating against particular skin types is not an area I want to get into nor is it an area with which I want to be associated. We all have equal rights to do the right thing and to make our mistakes as well. We do our best to advise people not to make the mistakes. We have a particular duty of care to children, for whom we cannot allow other to make mistakes. When it comes to themselves I do not think we have the right to do that and I would not be supportive of this approach. I say that as a doctor. My job, as a doctor, as far as I was concerned was to advise people but the ultimate decision about their health is made by themselves. They do so with the fullest information I could make available to them. It is not, "do as you are told". Life is not like that, and we all acknowledge that in our own way.

I have no problems with the amendments being tabled, that is Deputy Ó Caoláin's right. We should talk to them again because, as Deputy Billy Kelleher has said, that would highlight the danger particularly to people in this area. We will ensure that this health warning is displayed in all places where sunbeds are used, that a form is signed by customers using the sunbeds stating that they understand the risks to them, including the cancer risk, and that it has been explained properly to them to their satisfaction. That form will have to be held by the operator for at least two years after treatment has ceased. We are being very careful to warm people at every level about the dangers but, at the end of the day, an adult has the right to make the decision for himself or herself. I believe we have to respect that. We are not accepting this amendment

There are no other amendments.

I have heard what has been said and I reiterate my thanks to the Irish Cancer Society, in particular, for all its support on so many other public initiatives.

Deputy Billy Kelleher used the Cork phrase "togging off" in terms of the sun. There is a misnomer by some people in terms of exposure to harmful radiation be it from sunbeds or the sun. In tandem with the Bill there is a need to engage in an extensive programme with the Department of Health and the Irish Cancer Society to raise awareness around the harm issue. I take the Minister's point that the Irish Cancer Society makes a very strong case in respect of certain skin types. While the Minister has made his point, some people just do not get the message.

Yes and no matter what we do some people still will not get the message, possibly because some people do not want to get the message. Having said that, we will run an advertising campaign around the launch of this when the Bill is passed. There is no doubt about that. It would be timely if it was coming into the holiday season. I would like if we could get this through before the First Holy Communion season begins because we want to make it absolutely clear to people that it will then be illegal to subject one's child to sunbed use, unless under medical direction for a particular health condition. I saw a note here earlier stating that the chief medical officer, CMO, in 2009 advised that the higher risks for sections of the adult population could be dealt with by way of regulation rather than prohibition and that the national cancer control programme confirmed a similar view in 2011. I hope I have made my position clear. That is not in any way to denigrate any of the points made. It is very useful to have had this discussion and I hope it generates more awareness around the dangers of sunbed use and not only sunbed use but, as Deputy Kelleher said, the dangers from ultraviolet light both here and abroad when one goes sunbathing if one does not use the proper protection.

I concur with the Minister in his last remarks that it has been useful to have focused in on this issue. I would hope that any media following this discussion would join in the effort of the dissemination of information for the widest possible public purposes. That is very important. I reserve the right to table the amendments which we have discussed. This focus will be further served by its address again on Report Stage in the Dáil Chamber. In the meantime the reason I was particularly anxious that the Minister would not give us a definitive response this afternoon was that I wanted to leave as much room as possible for lobbying for his employment of the greatest mental agility possible in the intervening period. We will not take that as an absolute position. We will leave the door a little open and see where it brings us.

In terms of the inspection of sunbeds and premises, how often will such inspections be conducted and by whom?

They are conducted by the environmental health officers on a reasonably regular basis - six months to yearly.

I think I speak for all members of the committee when I say that we should send a message to parents around the First Holy Communion season that it is inappropriate and wrong to have children subjected to vanity projects, in order to look good on the day when they do not need to do that.

The strong message we need to send to parents is that they greatly increase the chance of their child developing malignant melanoma if they expose him or her to ultraviolet light. Malignant melanoma kills people every year. Despite numerous treatments which are terribly expensive it still kills many people every year.

I presume when the inspections are conducted on the premises that no warning is given.

No, absolutely not.

What about staff training?

Yes, that also is part of the Bill. They must be trained up. They must be trained in respect of both the use and the information and communication to people who have used their services.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 5 agreed to.
SECTION 6

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 6, line 3, after “sunbed” to insert “on a sunbed premises”.

Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Not to rush on from that, I refer to the Minister's last remarks on the message to parents of young children, of whom members were speaking in particular, to the effect that it will be illegal to subject them to the use of sunbeds. Is it not the case that the use of sunbeds will be restricted only in respect of those premises? Is it not the case that regrettably, there still will be potential for people foolishly to employ their own facility or that of a neighbour, a friend or a member of their extended family if they have such in their possession? The adoption of this amendment, which I do not oppose, more firmly directs the legislative impact on sunbed premises, as against the use of sunbeds in respect of those who are under 18. I do not raise this point to be contentious but the Minister should say more than he has on this matter, because there is a much wider usage than simply in sunbed premises and I am anxious to hear what the Minister may believe he can do about that. Perhaps he cannot do something at this point and perhaps other considerations will arise from this brief exchange.

Unfortunately, one cannot prohibit the use of sunbeds in private homes. It is only in areas in which there is supervision and that means professional premises. In addition, it affects those who hire sunbeds, as I am making it illegal to hire out a sunbed to anyone under the age of 18. That is as far as I can go and that is the reason it is important to promulgate the message that hundreds of people die annually from malignant melanoma and that one's greatest risk is if one was exposed to ultraviolet light under the age of 12, which specifically relates to those of holy communion age. In other words, if one engages in this practice, one is doing a desperate disservice to one's child's by exposing him or her to a shocking risk later in life. As matters stand, one cannot do this at home but as I stated, it can be done in supervised areas.

The Bill will bring within its scope sunbed use in commercial premises, as well as the sale and hire of sunbeds. It will not be possible to regulate the use of sunbeds in private dwellings that have been purchased by a person over the age of 18. The Constitution protects the dwelling of a citizen in this regard. Similarly, with other harmful substances such as tobacco, it is not possible to enter a private dwelling unless a warrant from a court is obtained. Responsibility with regard to activities in private dwellings rests with parents and it will be important to make parents aware of their responsibilities in such situations. In this regard, it will be a requirement that information will be given to anyone who proposes to hire or to purchase a sunbed that will advise him or her of the health risk of using sunbeds and that those under 18 should not use them. In February 2014, I called on parents to act responsibly when it comes to permitting or encouraging their children to use sunbeds. I stated that while parents may think they are doing something positive by allowing their children to use a sunbed, as I have just pointed out, they are risking their children's health. Parents must act responsibly to protect their children and there is no justifiable reason to allow the use of sunbeds by children under the age of 18 years of age in any setting. However, I am constrained by the Constitution when it comes to private dwellings, just as one cannot prevent people from smoking at home where there are children.

While I understood the restrictions, I thought that rather than moving on through this amendment without shining some light on it - albeit certainly not ultraviolet light - it would be important to have the Minister's elucidation on that matter. Again, while I will not oppose the amendment, I hope that in the fullness of time - I do not question the Minister's resolve - the wider community resolve to address this matter more substantively ultimately will see a ban on its use, end of story.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 7 and 8 agreed to.
SECTION 9

Amendments Nos. 4 and 5 form a composite proposal and will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 7, line 20, after “person” to insert “, other than a sunbed business referred to in subsection (4),”.

Section 9(1) prohibits offering the use, sale or hire of a sunbed free of charge. Section 9(2) enables the Minister to prescribe as prohibited certain marketing practices for the purpose of protecting public health and to reduce the risk to health arising from the use of sunbeds. It will be an offence for a person to offer a sunbed free of charge or to contravene the regulations under subsection (2). Subsection (4) provides for a non-exhaustive definition for the use, sale or hire of a sunbed at reduced prices or free of charge, including the awarding of bonus points, loyalty card points or any similar benefit arising from the use, purchase, sale or hire of a sunbed. Consequently, the amendment proposes that in page 7, line 20, after "person" to insert "other than a sunbed business referred to in subsection (4)".

Amendment No. 5 proposes, on page 7, between lines 21 and 22, to insert the following: “Nothing in subsection (1) or (2) shall prevent a sunbed business offering the sale or hire of a sunbed at a reduced price or free of charge to another sunbed business.”.

One is contingent on the other and I accept both.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 7, between lines 21 and 22, to insert the following:

“(4) Nothing in subsection (1) or (2) shall prevent a sunbed business offering the sale or hire of a sunbed at a reduced price or free of charge to another sunbed business.”.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 9, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 10 to 13, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 14

Amendments Nos. 6 and 7 in the name of Deputy Ó Caoláin are cognate and will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 10, line 15, to delete “safe” and substitute “authorised”.

I will speak on both amendments together as the same argument applies in each case. In amendments Nos. 6 and 7 I seek to change the reference to the word "safe". Under the section heading of "Training", section 14(1)(a) refers to "training leading to a qualification in the safe use of sunbeds". Section 14(3) goes on to provide that "Prescribed training may include training on ... the safe use and operation of sunbeds". It strikes me that through the employment of the word "safe" in association with the words "use of sunbeds", one is giving out a bad message. While members understand what is involved, many will not and there are others who are unscrupulous and who will use the referencing to aid and abet their own commercial interest, irrespective of the risk to those who will use the service provided. I believe the use of the phrase "safe use of sunbeds", against everything I already have said and, with respect, what the Minister has stated here this evening, is a contradiction. It simply does not rest with me.

This legislation does not bestow the word "safe" in terms of the use of sunbeds, rather it bestows authorisation in that respect over and above a particular age limit and within specified, confined areas of business practice. We should change the word "safe" for all the reasons I suggested and employ the word "authorised". That is the real intent of the legislation. The purpose and intent of the legislation the Minister has brought forward, which I support fully, is weakened by employing the use of the word "safe" in this regard. There is not a qualification in the safe use of sunbeds; there is a qualification certainly in the authorised use of sunbeds, FTB, for the time being until wiser days present.

I hope the Minister will concur with my reasoning in this regard and accept the amendments that are intended only to ensure that the Bill has no weakness that others could exploit and that we hold to a language in regard to sunbeds that will allow us all come back at this at some point in time in the future. It will be more difficult for us to wrestle with this issue following our having employed references such as "safe use". That immediately places a further obstacle to the arguments we can consider on another day. My appeal to the Minister is to accept what I hope are common-sense reasons behind changing the use of the word "safe" in regard to both of these subsections of section 14 and accepting the word "authorised", which I believe is more appropriate.

Tá fadhb bheag againn anseo, agus is í sin an focal "sábháilte" or "safe". The primary objective of the Bill is to protect children and those under 18 years of age from the risk of skin damage from the use of sunbeds in view of their increased risk of developing skin cancer, and we are all agreed on that. It is also to regulate the use of sunbeds by those over 18 years of age so as to reduce their likelihood, among other things, of developing skin cancer, premature ageing and damaging their eyes from exposure to ultraviolet radiation and to generally promote a greater public awareness across all age groups with a long-term view to reduce the incidence of skin cancers. The WHO has advised that without trained staff and adequate advice the potential for harm for the uninformed consumer is much greater. The WHO has further noted that in a largely unregulated industry where training of staff is not mandatory, this increases the health risks considerably.

I acknowledge the Deputy's point that the use of the word "safe" in the context of sunbeds is somewhat problematic but it is necessary in order to minimise the harm such equipment can do and for that reason I cannot accept the Deputy's proposed amendment, particularly because he used the word "authorised", which implies that we are authorising these premises which we are not. What we are doing is mandating who can use them and who cannot and the training that must go with them. If we were seek to authorise all these premises, we would be into a whole new raft of legislation. I am not being difficult, we have considered this word and other words such as "appropriate" and words like that, but it comes back to the same problem. They all give somewhat of a message that if we use the word "safe" that it is safe, whereas what we are saying is that it is safer at the end of the day to have them regulated, make sure they are hygienic and ensure that the customer is informed of the risk, but not safe in so far as people should not be using them at all. However, we are limited by EU law and by where we find ourselves. I know what the Deputy is trying to say and I share the sentiment, but we looked at this and certainly the word "authorised" is not one we could use because that implies authorisation and we are not authorising these premises.

I hope I did better than try in this respect; I hope I made the case explicitly clear for everybody. There is no doubt in my mind, and I cannot believe there is a doubt in minds of others here, regarding the use of the word "safe" in this legislation in the context of the employment of sunbeds. It is a contradiction in terms. We are sowing the seed of further difficulties that will present when we will want to revisit this issue at some point in time in the future, which I believe we should.

On the point the Minister made regarding the word "authorised", we are not talking about the authorisation of premises. The inclusion of my amendment would read "the authorised use of sunbeds" - it is not about the premises. The wording of the subsection is "training leading to a qualification". Training is absolutely essential. I understand fully what while sunbed use is allowed that those who are employed in its use by paying customers, or whatever the case may be, must have the highest qualification. They must be the best informed possible in order to ensure the best protections that can be secured or available, but we are looking here at the authorisation of the use of sunbeds as against the premises. I am not hung up on the word "authorisation" or the word "authorised" if that is something that presents a problem. I am not prepared to accept that we are in any way restricted by EU this, that or the other. This is about our moving forward our domestic legislation in order to protect those under the age of 18 in the first instance.

I may have a solution.

I am always willing to listen to the Minister.

I propose that rather than take those amendments today that we have an amendment on Report Stage which would provide for removing or omitting the word "safe" rather than trying to substitute another word, and the subsections would read "a qualification in the use of sunbeds" and "prescribed training may include training on the use and operation of sunbeds".

I welcome the Minister's further intervention. We can have a meeting of minds here. I accept that the Minister understands that the word "safe" will be used and abused - that is for sure. The purpose of my putting forward amendments is not to be able to catch the Minister out or to say that this is the case; it is always about trying to make the legislation the most fit for purpose that we can arrive at. On that basis, I am willing to draw a breath at this point and I will revisit it over the intervening period. I will not press my amendments at this point and we can see what we can do with this on Report Stage. The Minister will give it further consideration along the lines he suggested, I will do the same, and perhaps we will end up ticking the box together, so happy days.

Absolutely - that is always preferable.

See what the visit to Monaghan did for the Minister.

Is Deputy Ó Caoláin withdrawing his amendments?

That does not prevent me from revisiting and reintroducing them.

No. That is correct.

On that basis I withdraw both amendments.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 7 not moved.
Section 14 agreed to.
Sections 15 to 24, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.

I thank the Minister, Deputy Reilly, and his officials, namely, Mr. Gregory Canning, Ms Siobhan McEvoy, Mr. Michael Murray and Mr. Gary Connolly, as well as all members of the select sub-committee and Deputy Ó Caoláin in particular for their attendance and commitment. I invite the Minister to make a few closing remarks.

I will be brief. I thank the committee for its help and contributions. I concur with the other members that our whole purpose here is to improve legislation. No one has a monopoly on wisdom and it is important to remember that 850 new cases of melanoma occur in Ireland each year. Our message to parents is they should not do anything that makes their child likely to be one of those cases in later life. Each year, 150 Irish people die from melanoma and at present, 7,000 people in Ireland are living with this type of cancer. Moreover, while the cost of treating it has ranged from €6,000 to €10,000 per patient, with newer treatments the cost now is more like €50,000 to €100,000 per patient. It is important that governments pay more than lip service to prevention. They must pay for it because unless it is paid for now, our children will pay dearly for it down the road.

There also is misinformation abroad, such as the claims that sunbeds can help with vitamin D deficiencies. This is the reason these claims are prohibited unless they are prescribed in regulations. As Minister for Health, I can state these measures and others being pursued in the public health arena are designed to promote healthy lifestyle choices among people in Ireland. However, I reiterate what I said earlier, which is that as a doctor, as a politician and as a Minister for Health, I do not believe one should proscribe people from doing things. They should be advised, informed and empowered to make the right decision but the decision is theirs, once they become adults themselves. However, one has a duty of care to the children and they must be protected at all possible times. I thank everyone for their participation in today's Committee Stage debate and look forward to the passage of the Bill later in the Dáil Chamber.

Bill reported with amendments.