Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

30/07/09 MP calls for sunbed ban on under-18s

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has called for young people under the age of 18 to be banned from using sunbeds as new evidence shows that sunbed use is directly linked to skin cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a group of global cancer experts, has moved sunbeds up to risk group 1 - classifying their use as officially carcinogenic to humans and directly linking sunbed use to skin melanomas.

Rosie said:

“The use of sunbeds by young people, particularly in unstaffed and coin operated tanning salons, is something I raised in Parliament back in 2007. I’m particularly concerned by this new information which highlights even further the very serious health risks posed to our children by sunbed use."

“Young women are the most prolific users of sunbeds, but they are also most at risk from the effects of UV rays. The report released by the IARC shows that the risk of developing a skin melanoma is increased by 75% when use of tanning devices starts before the age of 30."

“I’ll be writing to the Minister for Public Health asking for swift action to be taken to regulate tanning salons and for a ban on their use by under-18s. I urge young people who want to get a tan to use fake tan instead - it is far better to fake than to bake.”

Rosie’s call for a ban was echoed by the Government’s Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE). They found that over 100 deaths from skin cancer every year can be directly attributed to the use of sunbeds.

The committee called for a ban on use by under-18s, legislation to regulate tanning salons, training for salon staff and detailed information on the health risks of using sunbeds to be available in all salons.

Richard Davidson, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Cancer Research UK, said:

“The link between sunbeds and skin cancer has been convincingly shown in a number of scientific studies now and so we are very pleased that IARC have upgraded sunbeds to the highest risk category. This backs up Cancer Research UK’s advice to avoid sunbeds completely for cosmetic purposes. They have no health benefits and we know that they increase the risk of cancer."

“Given the dangers of sunbeds, we want the government to act now to ban under-18s from using sunbeds, ensure salons are staffed with appropriately trained personnel and ensure information about the risks of using sunbeds is given to all customers.”

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