Report calls for under-18 sunbed ban

In collaboration with the Press Association

Young people under the age of 18 should be banned from using sunbeds to help reduce the number of people with skin cancer, a new report has claimed.

A report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin, to which Cancer Research UK submitted evidence, concluded that the government should take steps to reduce the use of sunbeds, including restricting their use to over-18s and placing health warnings on the machines.

The group has also recommended banning coin-operated sunbeds - which are often not closely monitored - and removing VAT from suntan lotions so that they become more affordable.

Recent figures found that the number of cases of skin cancer has risen by 35 per cent over the last ten years in Britain, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Sunbeds are thought by many experts to have contributed to this increase and research has shown that using sunbeds before the age of 35 increases a person's risk of developing melanoma skin cancer - the deadliest form of the disease - by up to 75 per cent.

However, the report authors estimate that more than 1,000 lives per year could be saved by spending £3.5 million a year on education about the risks associated with sunbeds.

Andrew Langford, chief executive of the Skin Care Campaign and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin, told the Daily Telegraph: "Many people are now convinced that the use of sunbeds in an uncontrolled way is contributing to the rise in the number of skin cancer cases.

"To allow people to toast themselves on a sunbed, often uncontrolled and unchecked, is inviting disaster. People shouldn't be allowed to increase their cancer risk in this way."

The president of the British Association of Dermatologists, Mark Goodfield, agreed that sunbeds are a key factor in the rising rate of skin cancer and called for tighter controls on their use.

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