New law protects under-18s from sunbed dangers
Friday 8 April 2011
New laws have come into force today (April 8th) which will prevent under-18s in England and Wales from using sunbeds, and punish businesses that fail to comply with the regulations.
A study by Cancer Research UK shows that six per cent of 11 to 17-year-olds in England - including half of all 15 to 17-year-olds in Liverpool and Sunderland - use sunbeds to achieve a year-round tan.
Under the new regulations, under-18s are now banned from using tanning salons and sunbeds at beauty salons, leisure centres, gyms, hotels and other premises.
It is now illegal to offer an under-18 the use of a sunbed, and young people are no longer allowed in areas that are reserved for sunbed users.
Businesses that fail to comply with the regulations and allow under-18s to use sunbeds will face fines of up to £20,000, and local authorities will be responsible for inspecting businesses and enforcing the Act.
Public health minister Anne Milton said: "Cases of skin cancer continue to rise each year. This new law will go some way to help reduce one of the biggest cancers among 15 to 24-year-olds.
"My message to young sunbed users is clear: you are putting your health at risk. Intense bursts of UV radiation can cause damage to your skin, even after just one use."
Professor Dame Sally Davies, England's chief medical officer, revealed that about 100 deaths a year from skin cancer are thought to be the result of sunbed use.
She said: "Damage to the skin from artificial or natural sunlight can take years to develop and young people are particularly vulnerable, which is why I welcome this new law that protects the under-18s."
Cancer Research UK, which has just launched its annual SunSmart campaign to raise awareness of skin cancer prevention, welcomed the new legislation.
Sarah Woolnough, the charity's director of policy, said: "As well as protecting under-18s from sunbed use, we hope the legislation sends a clear message to all that using a sunbed increases the risk of skin cancer. The World Health Organisation has classified sunbed use in its highest risk category for cancer, alongside tobacco.
"Skin cancer rates continue to rise rapidly, especially among under-35s as shown by our SunSmart campaign earlier this week, so we encourage people to take care in the sun and avoid using sunbeds. The safest way to get a tan is to fake it."
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