Wales' health minister plans to ban child sunbed use

In collaboration with the Press Association

Children in Wales could soon be banned from using sunbeds to protect them against skin cancer, health minister Edwina Hart has said.

Ms Hart confirmed that she plans to ban sunbed use among under-18s, as well as unstaffed tanning salons which are reportedly used by children.

In papers submitted to a cross-party committee, the minister revealed: "I am particularly concerned about the use of sunbeds by people under the age of 18 and by the use of coin-operated sunbeds.

"It is my intention to prohibit the use of sunbeds by persons under 18 years of age and also to ban the operation of unstaffed sunbed salons in Wales."

Ms Hart also referred to cases reported by the media in which young people have sustained serious burns after visiting a tanning salon.

"Some of the instances we have all seen in the press have indicated that something is going to have to be done," she said.

Darren Millar, chair of the Assembly's Health, Wellbeing and Local Government Committee, said that the committee is yet to make any firm recommendations.

"But the contribution of the health minister today certainly gives us food for thought," he said.

"There is a great deal of public concern regarding sunbeds and tanning salons and we will be taking all of this strong evidence for regulation into account.

"The evidence presented to the committee so far seems to be pointing us in the direction of regulation in this area."

Sarah Woolnough, Cancer Research UK's head of policy, said: "We are absolutely delighted that Wales plans to stop under-18s from using sunbeds. This move would ensure all salons are staffed and accurate health information is displayed to warn customers of the risks associated with using sunbeds.

"Sunbeds have recently been classified in the highest risk category for cancer, alongside tobacco, so we strongly discourage people from using them.

"Introducing this legislation would be a huge step in the right direction to help prevent so many people from developing the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Scotland has already passed legislation, and it's now time for England to follow this positive announcement from Wales."