Healthy living

Ban on under-18s using sunbeds

Ban on under-18s using sunbeds Businesses face fines up to £20,000

Businesses will face fines of up to £20,000 if they allow under-18s to use sunbeds, under new laws which come into effect today.

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 aims to stop under-18s being allowed to use sunbeds in tanning and beauty salons, leisure centres, gyms, hotels and prevent them entering any area reserved for sunbed users.

Over-exposure to UV radiation is now the main cause of skin cancer. More than two young people a day in the UK are diagnosed with the potentially fatal type of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, according to Cancer Research UK.

Cheap holidays in the sun and sunbed use are thought to be behind the tripling in melanoma rates among British 15-34 year olds since the late seventies.

Figures show that, on average, six per cent of 11-17 year olds in England use sunbeds with 50 per cent of 15-17 year-old girls in Liverpool and Sunderland using them.

Anne Milton, Minister for Public Health, said: "Cases of skin cancer continue to rise each year. This new law will go some way to help reduce one of the biggest cancers among 15-24 year olds.

"We want to protect under 18s from the dangers of sunbeds and reduce the number of young people getting skin cancer.

Under the new rules, it will be up to local authorities to decide how they monitor whether businesses are staying within the law.

Although the new Act will help to protect young people, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) said it did not go far enough.

Andrew Griffiths, CIEH Policy Officer, said: "We are extremely pleased to see the Act coming into force and believe it will give valuable protection to young people who are particularly vulnerable when it comes to contracting skin cancer - using a sunbed once a month or more can increase your risk of skin cancer by more than half.

"We are now urging the Government to follow the example set by Welsh Assembly Government by implementing the powers given to it under the Act to introduce subsidiary regulations increasing the protection given to sunbed users.

"These powers include further restricting the sale, hire or provision of sunbeds, in particular by prohibiting unsupervised tanning salons, and requiring sunbed businesses to provide health information and protective eyewear to their customers."

This article was published on Fri 8 April 2011

Image © Dreef -

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