Millions of dollars will be put towards a new campaign to reframe Australia’s dangerous obsession with sun tanning.
The Cancer Council linked high rates of the cancers, in part, to beauty standards causing young Australians to feel uncomfortable in their own skin, which is why the government has recruited digital content creators to help shift priorities online.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: New campaign to discourage tanning obsession among young people.
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It comes as new research confirmed most young Australians believe their chances of getting skin cancer are slim.
While skin cancer affects two out of three Australians, almost one in three (31 per cent) young Australians think it’s fine to suntan at their age, according to new research cited by the Department of Health.
While most Australians would be familiar with the five forms of sun protection — slip, slop, slap, seek, and slide — less than one in 10 young Australians are consistently adhering to the advice.
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“One person dies from the disease every six hours,” the Department of Health said while introducing the End the Trend campaign on Monday.
Cancer Council Australia CEO Professor Tanya Buchanan said the research confirms a dangerous obsession.
“The research shows young Australians have pro-suntanning attitudes and are not being safe in the sun,” she said.
“We know they perceive a suntan as desirable and prioritise this. The truth is, until every young Australian feels confident in their natural skin, skin cancer will sadly remain our most common cancer.”
While cancer should be off-putting enough, the strategy pivots to take aim at an image-conscious demographic. “Sun exposure accounts for 80 per cent of visible ageing,” the website reads.
Paid partnership posts already beginning to appear on social media include video content like styling tips incorporating giant sunhats, sleeves and sunglasses.
“We had to consider new ways to reach this group. So we’ve gone to where they are — online, at music festivals and through fashion and lifestyle media,” Health Minister Mark Butler said.
“We’re partnering with people they’ll listen to so we can help normalise sun protection.”
Fifty content creators, including a melanoma survivor, will now join the initiative to encourage sun safety.
World champion swimmer Sam Short joined the effort, and opened up about his “massive wake-up call”.
“As a competitive swimmer who has spent most of their life outdoors, I never thought I’d be diagnosed with skin cancer at 18,” he said.
“Whether it’s an outdoor barbecue, beach day or training, I’m always vigilant about my sun safety and remind my mates how important it is to use sun protection. No matter our age, we can’t afford to be casual with sun safety.”
The campaign will cost the government $7.3 million, a figure which pales in comparison to the $1.9 billion which skin cancers cost the health system each year, the Department of Health said.