“The increased VAT rate on sunbed services announced in Budget 2018 will help to reduce skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in Ireland, says Fine Gael Dublin Senator Catherine Noone.
“I have long highlighted the incomprehensible and unacceptable discrepancy between the 13.5% VAT rate on sunbeds, which cause skin cancer, and the 23% VAT rate on sunscreen, which prevents it.
“Today in Budget 2018, Minister Donohoe announced that VAT on sunbed sessions will increase from the reduced VAT rate of 13.5% to the standard rate of 23%, in line with the Government’s National Cancer Strategy
“Under the VAT Consolidation Act 2010 – sunbed sessions were allocated a reduced VAT rate as they were deemed a service consisting of ‘care of the human body’. This is beyond comprehension.
“Sunbeds had been ranked alongside beauty treatments, yoga and nail salons – while paradoxically, the standard 23% VAT rate is applied to sunscreen.
“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 sunbeds as ‘carcinogenic’ to humans, in the same category as plutonium and tobacco.
“A recent IPSOS MRBI poll commissioned 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.
“It is for this reason I strongly welcome the move to bring the VAT rate on sunbed services up from the reduced rate of 13.5% to the standard rate of 23%. I hope that the increased costs prove prohibitive to young people, but also that we send out the right message about sunbeds and the dangers they pose.”