Sunbeds should be banned.
This is the view of Tauranga's skin experts as two Australian states prepare to outlaw them.
New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia have both announced bans to take effect by 2015.
And this week Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said moves were also being made towards a "full ban" in the Sunshine State.
In New Zealand National MP Dr Paul Hutchison has put forward a Skin Cancer and Trauma Prevention Amendment Bill.
The proposed private member's bill is aimed at making sure sunbeds and lasers are up to standard, the provider is appropriately qualified and the premises appropriately regulated.
Under the bill, the voluntary standards for solariums would become mandatory - operators would have to obtain client consent and under-18s and pale-skinned people would be advised not to use them.
But Tauranga skin cancer expert Dr Paul Salmon said the bill was not going far enough.
"I'd like to see New Zealand follow Australia's lead. Why muck around with regulating sunbeds when the evidence is clear they should be banned?
"There is no real, good reason to have them and they are clearly dangerous.
"It's not sensible to pander to the industry. It's not for the best of the population," he told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.
Most dermatologists in New Zealand shared his view, he said.
"Research clearly links sunbeds to melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma and the suntanning industry puts out a lot of misinformation about how safe their product is ... they are actually very, very dangerous."
Some sunbed operators promoted their beds as only emitting UVA rays, which they claimed were not very harmful, but both UVB and UVA rays contributed to skin cancers, Dr Salmon said.
"It doesn't make any sense for people to be using sunbeds. It's right up there with smoking. The difficult thing is, particularly young kids are very impressionable and motivated by fashion."
As it was, the vast majority of people living in New Zealand and Australia got far too much sun than was good for them, without using sunbeds, he added.
In 2007 there were 80 cases of melanoma in the Western Bay for every 100,000 people, while non-melanoma skin cancer rates were about 3000 per 100,000.
The rates are similar to those in Queensland and almost double the national average.
A proliferation of sunbeds in the 1990s and 2000s meant there were likely to be more cases of skin cancer over the next 10-30 years, Dr Salmon said.
Dr Ben Tallon, who heads Tauranga-based Skin Dermatology Institute, and who is the appointed dermatologist for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, is part of the working group lobbying for Dr Hutchinson's bill.
However, he too would like to see a total ban of sunbeds in New Zealand.
He saw the bill, were it to be passed, as a possible "step" towards a total ban, as in NSW where under-18s were banned from using sunbeds, followed by under-25s, prior to the total ban being put in place.
Dr Hutchison, chairman of the Health Select Committee, said repeated surveys by Consumer had shown the voluntary standards were not being adhered to.
But an outright ban could result in a black-market industry, he added.
"You could get a reaction against it that drives it underground, which isn't a good thing."
Owner sees red if people try to misuse service
Tracey Taylor opened a tanning salon, SunScents & Beauty in Otumoetai 19 weeks ago and already has 370 clients, who travel from as far away as Whangamata.
Of those, three are 18-year-olds and 45 are men. Most are in their 30s and 40s. She wants her clients to tan responsibly.
"It's not the young ones, they are more mature," Ms Taylor said.
"It comes down to feeling good but not having the time to do it. They are busy working and more aware of the sun. It's a moderated way of doing it."
People used sunbeds for a variety of reasons, some for medical reasons, but mostly for self-esteem.
"People come out with a smile on their face," she said.
Passionate about the correct use of sunbeds, Ms Taylor said she was strict about adhering to the current voluntary standards.
"I am the gatekeeper," she said.
Since starting her business, she said she had turned away two people with Type 1 skin (very fair), a couple of under-18s and about six others who were not prepared to use the beds responsibly.
"They come in and expect to have the maximum time from the word go. They think they need to see a result then and there. We don't want people to burn. We are here to allow people to tan sensibly," Ms Taylor said.
Many sunbed operators felt guilty and embarrassed that they were offering the service, but there was still a demand, Ms Taylor said.
"I want people to feel good about themselves, just like I need to feel good about myself. If people want to get a tan, make it available but do it correctly. There is a place for it."