Healthy living

Sunbed ban for under-18s a step closer

Gemma Meron Government backs ban

Health Secretary Andy Burnham will today call for tanning salons to be banned from allowing under 18s to use sunbeds.

Mr. Burnham said the Government will support a Private Members Bill being introduced by Cardiff North MP, Julie Morgan, calling for the ban.

The Health Secretary commented: "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.

“I fully support this Bill which will force tanning salons to ban access for people under 18 years old.”

Last year, research carried out by Cancer Research UK found that about 6% of of those between the ages of 11 and 17 in England had used sunbeds. Sunbed use by under 18s was particularly high in Liverpool and Sunderland, where 50% of 15 to 17 year olds admitted to using them regularly.

Hollyoaks star Gemma Merton is also supporting the ban. The actress was photographed by Cancer Research UK using a specialised camera to highlight damage to her skin caused by UV radiation.

She said: "I started to use sunbeds once or twice a week with my friends when I was 15 but never realised the risks that I was putting my skin through just to get the perfect tan.

“When I was younger I just wanted to look tanned and to fit in with everyone and didn’t give any thought to the risks I was taking. I now realise the damage that sunbeds can do and support any move to ban them to under 18s”

Every year, more than 10,000 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma - the most deadly type of skin cancer - and around 2,000 die from it.

The number of new melanoma cases have almost quadrupled since the 1970s, and it is now the biggest cause of cancer death among women in their twenties.

The Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on January 29.

This article was published on Wed 13 January 2010

Image © Cancer Research UK

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