Credit crunched Brits swap holidays for sunbeds

Cancer Research UK

As the credit crunch continues to hit UK adults hard in the pocket, a new survey, released by Cancer Research UK to raise awareness of its annual SunSmart campaign, reveals that some sun seekers are planning to swap their summer holidays for increased sessions on a sunbed.

The survey, published to mark Sun Awareness Week (w/c 11 May), shows that almost a fifth of sunbed users (19 per cent) are planning to increase their sunbed usage because they cannot afford to go on a summer holiday.

Periods of intense exposure to UV, as you would get from a sunbed or on a summer holiday, are a sure way to damage and age the skin. The intensity of some UV rays from sunbeds can be up to 15 times higher than that of the midday sun. Using a sunbed once a month or more can increase your risk of skin cancer by more than half.

The survey found that overall, a third (34 per cent) of UK adults are less likely to go on a sunny summer holiday this year due to the recession. At the same time, almost one in three (29 per cent) said they would be disappointed if they did not get a tan this summer, with 46 per cent believing a tan makes them look healthier and 22 per cent thinking they will be more attractive if they have a tan.

Katy Scammell, SunSmart campaign manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "As the recession takes its toll on people's holiday plans, what is clear is that a tan is still something that many people value and aspire to. Using a sunbed may seem like a cheap, quick fix to achieve that summer glow, yet while the process may only take a few moments, the damage can last a lifetime.

"With all the evidence linking over-exposure to UV radiation with skin cancer, it's surprising that so many people are still putting their health at risk by using sunbeds. Exposure to these harmful rays increases your risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Not only do the harmful rays increase your risk of skin cancer, but they also lead to premature ageing and the appearance of lines, wrinkles and coarse, leathery skin.

"If you really can’t do without a tan this summer, then the best option is to fake it."

Don't let sunburn catch you out this year. Use shade, clothing and sunscreen to protect yourself.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's SunSmart campaign, visit www.sunsmart.org.uk

ENDS

For further information, contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300

Note to editors:

About SunSmart

It is the seventh year of the SunSmart campaign, commissioned by the UK's Department of Health, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of sun protection and early detection against skin cancer. Cancer Research UK's SunSmart campaign is funded by UK Health Departments and launched in March 2003

About the survey

Two surveys were carried out, and all figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Survey 1: Total sample size was 2182 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th - 20th April 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). Survey 2: Total sample size was 2276 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 24th - 27th April 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About Cancer Research UK

  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
  • Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
  • Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.
  • For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7121 6699 or visit our homepage.

Confidence intervals

14.3% - 24.7% - the confidence interval for the statistic '19% of sunbed users are planning to increase their sunbed usage because they cannot afford to go on a summer holiday'.

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