Following our campaigning in 2010, laws have been introduced across the UK restricting access to sunbeds to over 18s.

This will protect a generation of children from the damage caused by sunbeds.

Why we campaigned 

The link between sunbed use and skin cancer is proven. Along with excessive exposure to the sun, experts believe sunbed use is fuelling the increase in skin cancer, particularly amongst the young.

  • Using a sunbed before the age of 35 increases the risk of cancer by 59%
  • More than a quarter of a million 11-17 year olds in England have used a sunbed
  • The most common cancer in young people aged 15-34 is malignant melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer)

How we made it happen

In 2010 over 1,300 cancer campaigners emailed their MPs. We also had public support from Julie Morgan, former MP for Cardiff North, Sian James MP, Baroness Finlay and Girls Aloud Star Nicola Roberts. 

Laws have now been passed to ban under 18s from using sunbeds.

What we achieved

  • 2010: Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill passed by Parliament preventing under 18s from using sunbeds in England and Wales. Scotland already had this legislation
  • April 2011: the Sunbeds Act came into force in England and Wales, protecting under 18s from sunbed use
  • April 2011: Welsh Assembly passed further regulations, requiring all salons to be supervised, provide protective eyewear and display prescribed health information. Hire or sale of sunbeds to under 18s was also banned in Wales
  • May 2011: Sunbeds Act passed in Northern Ireland with the same regulations as Wales, but also requiring salons to ensure that all staff are properly trained, and health information must be given when sunbeds are sold or hired. Allowance in the Northern Ireland Sunbeds Act for regulations on the licensing of sunbed businesses  
  • October 2011: Welsh Assembly regulations came into effect
  • May 2012: Sunbeds Act came into force in Northern Ireland

More information

Find out more about sunbeds and sun awareness on our policy pages.
Visit our SunSmart website for information about the damage caused by sunbeds.

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