Headlines: November 16th, 2009

English Council leaders have warned that people under the age of 18 should be barred from using sunbeds to help prevent skin cancer. They are also calling for a ban on unstaffed tanning salons in England to protect young ‘binge tanners’.

A ban on sunbeds for under-18s in Scotland will come into force this month and proposals for similar restrictions are already being considered in Wales. The move by the Local Government Association, which represents English councils, follows cases in which children as young as 10 suffered burns after visiting unstaffed salons. The law currently prevents young people under the age of 16 from using sunbeds.

The World Health Organisation has ranked sunbeds alongside cigarettes, arsenic and asbestos as posing the greatest cancer threat to humans. Cancer Research UK says malignant melanoma is now the most frequently occurring cancer in young adults aged between 15 and 34.

The Chairman of the Local Government Association, Margaret Eaton, said children wanted to look the same as their favourite celebrities who were sun tanned all year round and it was easy for young people to find a tanning salon, In some areas, she said, sunbeds were available at pocket money prices. “It is unacceptable that people should be able to walk into a tanning salon and use a sunbed completely unchecked,” she said and added: “England needs to follow the example of Scotland and ban the use of sunbeds by people under 18. We should outlaw unmanned tanning salons altogether. Council trading standards officers are ready to enforce a ban so that in future, tanning salons face hefty fines if they put children’s health at risk.”