MSPs back sunbed bill

In collaboration with the Press Association

The majority of members of the Scottish Parliament have given their backing to a new bill regulating tanning salons as it begins its passage into law.

If passed, the law will require tanning salons, many of which are currently un-staffed, to ensure that under 18s are prevented from using coin-operated tanning beds.

The bill has been introduced by member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Ken Macintosh, who said that 67 of the parliament's 129 MSPs have pledged to back it.

"We know that without controls in place, children as young as nine or ten are using these sunbeds," said Mr Macintosh, who is joint chairman of the executive's group on cancer. "In many places the machines are coin-operated and unsupervised and there is no one there to warn young people of the health risks.

"I am delighted that not only is there a clear majority in the Scottish Parliament in support of this public health measure, MSPs from every party have signed up."

Sunbeds, which emit cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation, are estimated to cause around 100 deaths from skin cancer in the UK every year.

Scotland has both the highest number of tanning salons per capita in the UK and an unusually high number of skin cancer deaths.

Deputy director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, Sara Hiom, said that the charity welcomed the bill.

"A licensing scheme would aim to prevent children and teenagers from using sunbeds and to phase out all coin-operated, unmanned sunbeds," she told the BBC.

"Like the sun, sunbeds give out UV rays and we believe people should be made aware of the risks associated with use."