MPs back ban on under-18 sunbed use

In collaboration with Adfero

A Bill to prevent under-18s from using tanning salons has cleared its stages in the House of Commons, and will now go for consideration in the House of Lords.

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill was launched at the House of Commons in January and has received high-profile support from a number of well-known figures, including Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts.

Evidence showing that youngsters who use sunbeds face a significantly increased risk of developing skin cancer has prompted MPs from all parties to back the Bill, which would require salon operators to prevent under-18s from using their tanning devices.

Local enforcement officers would be given the power to inspect businesses and penalise any owners who are found to be breaching the ban.

In addition, children would be prevented from buying or hiring sunbeds.

The Bill was proposed by Labour MP Julie Morgan, who said the legislation would "save lives" and "protect young people", but it may not become law before the forthcoming general election.

Sarah Woolnough, head of policy at Cancer Research UK, commented: "We are delighted that the private member's bill to protect children from the dangers of sunbeds has made it through the final hurdle in the House of Commons and will now pass to the House of Lords for consideration."

She cited recent research in the British Medical Journal which found that a quarter of a million children in England, aged 11 to 17, use sunbeds on a regular basis and urged the government to prioritise the Bill.

"The dangers of sunbeds are unquestionable," Ms Woolnough said. "The International Agency for Research into Cancer has elevated them into the highest risk category for cancer, alongside tobacco.

"And people who begin using sunbeds under the age of 35 are increasing their chance of developing malignant melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer - by 75 per cent."