The HSE is using teenage girls to help catch out rogue sunbed operators
New figures show that the Health Service Executive is clamping down on the sunbed industry with the help of underage girls.
Volunteer teenagers are working with the HSE to catch out rogue vendors who are selling sunbed sessions to minors.
The teens, mostly girls, helped with 47 'test purchase inspections' last year, reports The Sun.
The sting operations led to five vendors being caught allowing minors sunbed sessions.
Inspections were almost doubled from 25 in 2016 to 47 last year, suggesting that the HSE is getting evermore serious about protecting kids and teenagers.
Under a new law in 2014, it became illegal to allow a person under 18 years of age to use a sunbed.
Since the under-18s sunbed ban was introduced, 69 infringements by sunbed operators selling to minors have been recorded by the HSE.
Further restrictions around the use of sunbeds came into effect in 2015.
Marketing sunbeds with promotions using language like "free of charge", "reduced price" or "unlimited use" were banned, as well as happy hours, loyalty cards and bonus points for users.
Vendors also have to make the dangers of sunbed use clear in-store.
The Irish Cancer Society warned at the time that sunbeds are as cancerous as tobacco.
"A body of evidence has been built up that shows the clear link between sunbeds and skin cancer," said Kathleen O’Meara, Head of Advocacy and Communications at the Society.
"We now know that the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, from any sunbed use is 20 per cent and this increases to 59 per cent if the exposure was while the person was under 35 years of age."