Headlines: September 5th, 2006



Doctors Leaders in Wales want local councils to have the power to regulate the use of sunbeds. BMA Cymru Wales is concerned about the link between cosmetic sunbed use and a rise in skin cancer cases in Wales. It wants the National Assembly to pass legislation regulating sunbed parlours and compelling local authorities to issue licences.

It believes the legislation – possible under the national Assembly’s powers – should require businesses offering cosmetic tanning facilities or equipment to obtain a licence from their local council. It would also set licensing conditions so local authorities could inspect premises, prevent the use of sunbeds by children, protect adults from over-exposure, ensure sunbed users are supervised and sessions are monitored. In addition it would mean the end of coin-operated machines and ensure that sunbed parlours or salons provided health risk information.

The secretary of the BMA in Wales, Dr Richard Lewis, said the use of sunbeds for cosmetic purposes could result in acute and chronic health effects on the skin and eyes. Tighter controls could have a positive impact on skin cancer prevention efforts.

“We have been concerned for some time about rising sunbed use and the effect this may have on levels of skin cancer. With its new powers to create new Welsh law, the National Assembly now has the opportunity to make a difference on this issue and steal a march on the UK government,” Dr. Lewis said.

He was particularly concerned, he said, by evidence that children were using sunbeds because they were especially sensitive to ultraviolet light. Dr Sharon Blackford, Consultant Dermatologist at Swansea NHS Trust said doctors were seeing more and more younger patients with skin cancer, particularly young women who were frequent sun bed users. “This is a public health issue and an issue on which the National Assembly could make a difference,” she said.