Salons warned over children’s sunbed use

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A warning is being issued to borough tanning salons after an undercover exercise found an “alarming” number of children were illegally being allowed to use the facilities.

Wigan Council’s trading standards recently carried out the exercise which showed five out of 12 shops allowed a child to use the sunbed without asking for proof of age. A 15 and 16-year-old were used in the undercover exercise over the summer holidays.

It is a criminal offence to offer or allow a person under the age of 18 to use a sunbed.

Trading standards is encouraging sunbed businesses in the borough to operate a Challenge 25 age verification policy. The owners are now being investigated and legal action may follow.

Mark Tilley, council assistant director for regulatory services, said: “We were disappointed and alarmed at the results of our exercise. All salons have previously been advised to be vigilant and operate an age verification policy to stop children using the sunbeds illegally. We hope this reminds operators of their legal responsibilities and to check the age of customers so they help to protect our children and young people.

“We will be carrying out further undercover exercises.”

The local public health team have warned of the dangers of regularly using sunbeds, particularly to young people.

Borough director for public health Prof Kate Ardern said: “Sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase your risk of developing skin cancer later in life. However the risks are greater for young people with evidence showing that people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25 are at greater risk. While a tan can fade quickly, long term damage is irreversible. We would encourage young people to use alternatives such as tanning creams or spray tans.”