Legislation banning young people from using sunbeds has unanimously passed its first reading in Parliament.
The Health (Protection) Amendment Bill would prevent those under 18 using commercial tanning devices.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said yesterday that there was clear international evidence that sunbeds significantly increase the risk of skin cancers among users and that younger people are at higher risk.
"The greater the exposure, the greater the risk of skin cancer," he said.
Sunbed age restriction has already been adopted in other jurisdictions such as South Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and California.
Green Party MP Kevin Hague said he was disappointed that sunbeds were not banned altogether in the bill.
"The provision in this bill is at the most timid level imaginable. I was intrigued to hear Jonathan Coleman saying that the age limit of 18 was struck, because there was evidence disproportionate harm to persons under the age of 18."
The legislation also strengthens the laws around the day-to-day management of infectious diseases such as measles and whooping cough.
Court orders could be used to make those who pose a risk of spreading a very serious disease go into isolation or undergo medical tests.
Dr Coleman said he believed the bill provided a balance in protecting individual rights while still protecting the health of the wider public from risks arising from significant infectious diseases and risks from sunbeds.
The health committee would now consider the bill.