New law bans Under-18s from solariums

Austrian teenagers are banned from tanning shops as of today (Weds) amid skin cancer fears.The law preventing Under-18s from using tanning salons in the country was agreed upon by all five parties represented in the Austrian parliament last year.The government stressed managers of solariums, hotel bosses and other businessmen face fines of up to 2,180 Euros if they ignored the new ruling.Authorities pointed out it was not enough to put up posters informing customers about the restrictions. Managers must check young people’s IDs to ensure the law is considered, they added.The parliament’s decision is based on studies by European Union (EU) experts showing that excessive tanning drastically increases the risk of getting skin cancer.Last November’s 15-hour debate of the topic reached a rather amusing climax when Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) MP Stefan Petzner spoke up.The well-tanned former spokesman of late BZÖ founder Jörg Haider said he supported the new ruling to protect teenagers – but added “30 to 50” tanning sessions were healthy for adults.Stick-thin Petzner, who labelled himself as “Austria’s most popular solarium user”, was subsequently reprimanded by Social Democratic (SPÖ) parliamentary president Barbara Prammer for revealing his favourite sunbed manufacturer.Petzner headed the BZÖ for a brief period after Haider’s death in 2008, but was replaced by Josef Bucher amid fears that his emotional dealing with the right-wing icon’s disease could worsen the party’s reputation.