Cancer Research UK urges government to take further action on sunbeds

In collaboration with Adfero

Cancer Research UK welcomes the government's intention to ban the use of sunbeds by under-18s following the launch of a Private Member's Bill in Parliament by Julie Morgan, MP for Cardiff North.

Health secretary Andy Burnham is backing this bill. The minister said that he "fully supports" the bill in light of evidence that sunbeds increase the risk of skin cancer and has committed to consulting on regulations to ensure all sunbed use is supervised, should the bill pass.

Sarah Woolnough, head of policy at Cancer Research UK, said: "We know that coin-operated sunbeds and un-staffed salons - which offer cheap deals - make using sunbeds extremely appealing to young people.

"And we are concerned that unless action is taken to ensure salons are staffed, young sunbed users will continue to put themselves at risk of skin cancer."

Research shows that using a sunbed for the first time under the age of 35 increases a person's risk of developing skin cancer by 75 per cent.

Scotland has already introduced "strong legislation" to protect children and teenagers and Cancer Research UK hopes England and Wales will follow suit.

Commenting on the government's decision to back Julie Morgan's private member's bill, Andy Burnham said: "The scientific evidence is clear - sunbeds increase your risk of getting skin cancer.

"It is far too easy for young people to use sunbeds and I am determined to take action to protect them."

A previous report by Cancer Research UK, published in November 2009, found that sunbed use is common among under-18s.

Researchers found that six per cent of 11 to 17-year-olds in England had used a sunbed, including 20 per cent of children in Liverpool and 18 per cent in Sunderland.