Current Issues in Consumer Law 1/2011
Higher protection coefficient in solarium marketing
In the future solariums may be prohibited for under-18 year olds. A simple age limit however will not protect consumers if marketing brushes the health risks of the service to one side.
Regulations are being added to the Radiation Act which will prohibit those below the age of 18 being exposed to a solarium’s ultraviolet radiation. The Finnish Consumer Agency supports the age limit. There are safety risks associated with solarium services which are greater the younger people start to use them.
In Parliament’s proposal, it is planned that there should be people responsible at places where solariums are used. Their role would be to advise customers as necessary on the use of the solarium and provide relevant information about ultraviolet radiation. In addition, the person responsible would check that underage people would not be allowed to use the solarium.
Promises are too bright
However, the age limit and a responsible person are not sufficient if the dangers of solarium use are not explained at all in their marketing.
The advertising messages about solariums are generally just in support. The consumer is encouraged to use a solarium to get a base tan before the summer or holiday abroad and thus to make sure that their skin does not burn straight away in the sun. The advertising also emphasises the health promoting effects of solariums. The solarium promises to brighten up the dark period of the year and to increase the production of vitamin D.
If marketing does not give necessary information with regard to the consumer’s health and safety, then it is inappropriate. The Finnish Consumer Agency can, if necessary, take a stance on the marketing of solarium services and remind the service providers of their legal obligations.