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Introducing Tiger – The Sunsmart Spokesprawn

Introducing Tiger – The Sunsmart Spokesprawn

There’s something fishy going on this summer - and it’s all to do with slipping, slopping, slapping and wrapping.

The Cancer Society and Health Sponsorship Council are delighted to introduce their new SunSmart Spokesprawn - the one and only Tiger.

Speaking to us from the barbeque, Tiger Prawn avoids the sun by slipping into a lettuce leaf and some shade, slopping on some mayo, slapping on a hat, and wrapping on cucumber sunglasses. But will he be able to avoid ending up on someone’s plate?

Voiced by What Now’s Ant Samuels, Tiger made his sizzling entrance at Labour Weekend. He’s popping up everywhere, including on TV, radio, posters, t-shirts, stickers and tattoos.

Cancer Society Health Promotion Programme Manager Liz Price says the Tiger campaign comes just in time, as research shows that New Zealanders are not taking enough care in the sun.

There has not been a national SunSmart campaign since 1999, and some people seem to be getting a bit laid-back about sun protection. In fact, in New Zealand we are subjected to very strong ultraviolet radiation and need to take extreme care over summer.

Even one burning episode can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, so it’s vital to take Tiger Prawn’s advice and slip, slop, slap and wrap.

Tiger is a prawn with attitude who gives a serious message in a fun way. He is targeted particularly to children 12 and under and their parents, but we hope that the Tiger campaign will be a hit with all New Zealanders.

As Tiger says “You can still enjoy summer, you just gotta be a bit brighter than the sun.”


Skin cancer

Skin cancer is the commonest cancer in this country. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. There are nearly 50,000 new skin cancers a year, including 1800 new cases of melanoma. You are most likely to be burnt on your face, neck, shoulder, and lower arm. The face and neck are the most common places for skin cancers particularly squamous cell carcinoma - a raised, crusty, non-healing sore, or basal cell carcinoma, a pale, red or pearly raised lump. New Zealanders are particularly at risk of skin cancer because of our clear skies, our outdoor lifestyle and our country’s closeness to the sun. While we can consider ourselves blessed to live in such a beautiful country as New Zealand we can’t afford to be blasé about possible downsides. Our high rate of skin cancer, and melanoma in particular, is disturbing, especially given that most melanoma is preventable.

Further information can be found on the Cancer Society website:

The ozone layer Ozone in the atmosphere occurs mainly in the stratosphere, at altitudes 10-30 kilometers above the Earth's surface. It forms a natural screen that absorbs most of the damaging UV radiation present in sunlight. The amount of ozone in the layer at any one time and location is subject to natural variation caused by the variations in the solar radiation received and atmospheric circulation patterns. Variation in the solar cycle (sunspots), and volcanic activity also have minor effects. Over the past 15 years the total amount of ozone screening the Earth from UV radiation has decreased significantly, with the largest changes occurring at high latitudes. These changes cannot be explained wholly by natural factors.

Chlorine (Cl) contained in synthetic chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) is partly responsible for this ozone depletion. Since the 1940s CFCs have been used as, for example, refrigeration agents and propellants in aerosol sprays. They have a very long lifetime in the atmosphere. When they diffuse into the stratosphere, sunlight causes the molecules to break up, releasing Cl atoms. Cl reacts catalytically with ozone in a process which regenerates Cl, so that each atom can destroy thousands of ozone molecules. Bromine (Br) is an even more effective ozone-depleter on a per molecule basis, but its atmospheric concentration is much less than that of chlorine.

Since the late 1970s an ozone "hole" has formed over Antarctica during early spring, caused by the special meteorological conditions of the cold atmosphere which make CFCs much more destructive. At this time, more than half of the ozone over Antarctica can be destroyed. This hole cannot shift over New Zealand, but it is thought to contribute to global ozone changes because the ozone recovery in Antarctica during the late spring/early summer dilutes the available total ozone. Evidence of ozone destruction has also been observed recently over the Arctic.

Based on the Montreal Protocol, regulations to minimise future ozone depletion are now in effect. As a result, it is predicted that the amount of chlorine in the stratosphere has peaked. Because CFCs last so long it will be several decades before Cl reverts to pre-ozone depletion levels.

Further information can be found on the NIWA website:

Being SunSmart SLIP into a shirt - and slip into some shade, especially between 11am and 4pm when the ultraviolet rays are most fierce SLOP on some sunscreen before going outdoors. Put sunscreen on any skin not covered by clothes. Choose a sunscreen that meets the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS2604. Use an SPF30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen. Wipe it on thickly at least 15 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply; do this 15 minutes after the first application to ensure complete coverage, and also after physical activity, swimming or towel drying.

SLAP on a hat with a brim or a cap with flaps. More people get burned on the face and neck than any other part of the body, so a good hat is important.

WRAP on a pair of sunglasses. Choose close fitting, wrap-around glasses that meet the Australian Standard AS1067.

Ultraviolet Index The Metservice provides daily forecasts of ultraviolet (UV) radiation expected around New Zealand, which are calculated for clear sky conditions by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). The ozone information needed for these calculations is based on satellite data.

The UV Index (UVI) is an international standard that applies to all skin types, and is a guide to the possible risks of sunburn.

The index assesses the danger on a scale from 0 to a maximum of about 14 in New Zealand, with the higher the number the higher the danger. (Note. The scale is open ended. At high altitudes, the UVI can exceed 15, but for most locations on the Earth’s surface, the maximum UVI is less than 20. In New Zealand the UVI rarely exceeds 14. Outside the Earth’s protective atmosphere, the UVI can exceed 300).

UVI Range Risk 1 5 low to moderate

6 7 High

8 10 very high

10 15 extreme

The index is expected to reach a maximum value of 13 to 14 during summer (with higher values in the North), and is highest between 1pm and 2 pm local time.

To avoid skin damage protection is required once the UVI is over 6, this is usually daily during the New Zealand daylight saving period

In addition, NIWA provides to the public at no charge: Maps of predicted noon time UV (and ozone) for the NZ region, Plots of measured UV compared with the UV calculated for clear skies at five sites:

- Leigh (near Auckland) - Paraparaumu (near Wellington) - Christchurch. - Lauder (Central Otago) - Invercargill.

Check out the NIWA website - for this UVI information.

NIWA can also provide "UV Atlas" CDs from which UV can be calculated throughout NZ for the period 1979 to the present. The Atlas is currently being updated. There is as small charge for this product (see NIWA website

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