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MPs issue call for ban on unmanned tanning salons

Unmanned tanning salons should be banned in England as they are in other parts of the UK, a group of MPs have said.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin said that tanning facilities where people can just turn up and use sunbeds without supervision should be prohibited.

MPs said they were “concerned” that bans on unmanned tanning salons are in place in Wales and Scotland, but there is not one in place in England.

“We recommend that the Department of Health urgently looks into introducing similar measures in England,” they said.

“There is little doubt that sunbeds increase the risk of skin cancer in fair skinned populations”

Harry Moseley

Experts said that the introduction of such a measure would mean that under 18s would no longer be able to sneak into unmanned tanning facilities.

The group’s report into the use of sunbeds also recommended that these facilities should also provide “balanced” health information and safety goggles for users.

Ministers should also consider enabling local councils to licence facilities offering sunbeds, the report states.

The MPs also recommended that salon staff are trained to spot different skin types and their associated risk levels when exposed to UV light. This could mean that they are able to “screen” users who are at increased risk.

In addition, there should be compliance testing to ensure that facilities are complying with restrictions on UV emission.

Professor Harry Moseley, spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologists, said: “The evidence shows that despite the promising step forward made by the passing of the Sunbed (Regulation) Act 2010, many providers of sunbed facilities are failing to ensure that they reach basic standards.

“This proposed regulation would close loopholes, such as under-18s using unmanned tanning facilities, and see stricter enforcement for businesses that continue to irresponsibly use appliances that fail to meet standards, often producing radiant dose levels well over acceptable levels.

British Association of Dermatologists

Harry Moseley

“Proportionate and sensible regulation of sunbeds is important to mitigate that risk and stem the rising tide of cases of skin cancer,” he said.

“There is little doubt that sunbeds increase the risk of skin cancer in fair skinned populations,” he added.

Recent figures from Cancer Research UK showed more than 13,000 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form skin cancer, every year compared with 1,800 in 1975.

Malignant melanoma is now the fifth most common cancer in the UK and more than 2,000 people die from the disease each year, a spokesman said.

While better detection methods have contributed to the rise, the charity blamed the problem on a “dramatic explosion” of package holidays and the “boom” in sunbed use.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The Department of Health welcomes this useful and comprehensive report.

“We will look at all the recommendations and are already considering the technical issues with Public Health England.”

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