UK Government

Department of Health: Under Embargo - Government backs sunbed ban

Press Release   •   Jan 13, 2010 10:53 GMT

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

He will announce that the Government is backing a Private Member’s Bill, seeking to introduce the ban at a photo call with Cancer Research UK and Julie Morgan, the MP introducing the Bill, later today.

Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham said:

"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.”

The move comes after a Cancer Research UK report, commissioned by the Government and published in November last year, showed worrying levels of sunbed use amongst under 18s.

The report showed that:

• Overall, 6.0 per cent of children aged 11-17 years in England said that they had used a sunbed
• There was significant variation across the regions with the “North” having 11.0 per cent of children having used a sunbed compared with 4.2 per cent in both the “Midlands” and in the “South”
• In a study of six different UK cities, sunbed use was significantly higher in Liverpool at 20.0 per cent and Sunderland at 18.0 per cent than in the other four “cities” for 11-17 year olds combined

Gemma Merna who plays Carmel Valentine in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks is also supporting the bill.

Speaking about the dangers of sunbeds 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”

The Private Member’s Bill, to be introduced by Julie Morgan MP, will have its second reading in the House of Commons on 29th January 2010.

Notes to editors

1. For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health newsdesk on 020 7210 5221.

2. To contact Julie Morgan MP please call 020 7219 3000

3. For more information about Cancer Research UK and the study please contact 0207 061 8300

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