The Independent View: Time to better regulate the sunbed industry

Cancer Research UK welcomes the emphasis placed on public health and disease prevention in ‘A Fresh Start For Britain‘ recently backed by the Liberal Democrat conference – through mention of the need to tackle obesity, alcohol abuse, and smoking. We know that around half of all cancers are potentially preventable, so we welcome this focus. However, we believe there is one important omission – the need to better regulate the sunbed industry.

Earlier this year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer re-classified UV radiation (and therefore sunbeds) – elevating it to it’s highest risk category for cancer, the same as tobacco. Easy access to unregulated sunbed salons, particularly by young people, continues to be a problem across the UK.

Cancer Research UK is calling for three measures to protect children from the risks that sunbeds pose through:
1) restricting sunbed use to the over 18s,
2) ensuring that all sunbed salons are staffed and
3) providing clear, accurate health information for all sunbed users.
Adults should be free to make their own choices, but they should do so knowing the risks involved.

Rates of skin cancer are rising rapidly. Experts believe that binge tanning on foreign holidays and sunbed use are largely to blame. Scotland has already taken action. We believe that now is the time to extend such protection to children and young people across the UK.

* Sarah Woolnough is Head of Policy at Cancer Research UK.

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This entry was posted in The Independent View.


  • Martin Land 4th Oct '09 - 7:05pm

    Not sure the fetching shade of red is very appropriate.

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