MPs call for further restrictions on sunbeds

In collaboration with the Press Association

A group of MPs has called for more restrictions on sunbeds, including a ban on unmanned tanning salons.

"Clear and accurate information should be provided so anyone choosing to use sunbeds is aware of the very real risks they pose to health” - Sara Osborne, Cancer Research UK

The report, from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin, said that tanning facilities where people can use sunbeds without supervision should be prohibited.

MPs said they were "concerned" that, while bans on unmanned tanning salons are in place in Wales and Scotland, there is not one in place in England.

"We recommend that the Department of Health urgently looks into introducing similar measures in England," they said.

The group's report into the use of sunbeds also recommended that these facilities should also provide "balanced" health information and safety goggles for users.

Ministers should also consider enabling local councils to licence facilities offering sunbeds, the report states.

The MPs also recommended that salon staff are trained to spot different skin types and their associated risk levels when exposed to UV light. This could mean that they are able to "screen" users who are at increased risk.

And there should be compliance testing to ensure that facilities are complying with restrictions on UV emission, their report said.

Sara Osborne, Cancer Research UK’s head of policy, said the recommendations were "so important", since the evidence that sunbeds increase the risk of skin cancer is clear.

"Research has shown that using sunbeds for the first time before the age of 35 increases the risk of developing malignant melanoma by nearly 60 per cent. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and the second most common cancer in people aged 15 to 34."

“Cancer Research UK successfully campaigned to introduce tighter legislation around sunbeds, including a ban on under-18s using them. Ensuring that all sunbeds are supervised is necessary to prevent children from accessing sunbeds and increasing their risk of developing skin cancer.

"Clear and accurate information should also be provided by tanning salons so that anyone choosing to use sunbeds is aware of the very real risks they pose to health.”

Recent figures from Cancer Research UK showed more than 13,000 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form skin cancer, every year compared with 1,800 in 1975.

Malignant melanoma is now the fifth most common cancer in the UK and more than 2,000 people die from the disease each year.

Copyright Press Association 2014