Praise for underage sunbed ban

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WIGAN health chiefs have praised new rules banning under-18s from using sunbeds in tanning salons.

Businesses which allow children and teenagers to use their sunbeds face fines of up to £20,000 as the new law aims to reduce soaring rates of skin cancer.

There will be no requirement for firms to ask for ID, or to keep a register of customers, but spot checks will be performed by council officials to ensure compliance.

Glen Berry, Assistant Director of Health Development at Ashton, Wigan and Leigh PCT, said: “Skin cancer is a huge problem in Wigan. Numbers of cases have tripled in the borough in recent years, compared to numbers doubling nationally.

“We know that using sun beds under the age of 35 increases the risk of malignant melanoma - the most aggressive form of skin cancer - by 75 per cent.

“The PCT welcomes anything that prevents young people from using sunbeds in tanning parlours.”

Young people will be stopped from using sunbeds in places including tanning salons, beauty shops, leisure centres, gyms and hotels, and prevented from entering an area reserved for sunbed users.

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 comes into force after research published earlier this week showed more than two people under the age of 35 are diagnosed with the deadliest form of skin cancer every day,

Melanoma is the fastest growing form of cancer and the increased use of sunbed shops has been blamed for its growth.

Figures show that on average, six per cent of 11 to 17-year-olds use sunbeds, rising to 50 per cent of 15 to 17-year-olds girls in Liverpool and Sunderland.

There are 75 tanning shops across Wigan which equates to 25 per 100,000 population - one of the highest figures in the country.

Mr Berry has also urged salons to display clear warnings about the risks of using sunbeds.

He added: “Official warnings about the dangers of sunbeds have been issued to shops to display. But it is questionable how many display this prominently, Warnings about the dangers of smoking are clearly printed on packets of cigarettes. People are now aware of the health risks from smoking. Equally, people should also be aware of the risks of using sunbeds.”

The National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF) also has welcomed the ban.