Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Health, has called for tanning salons to be banned from allowing under-18s to use sunbeds. The Government has backed a Private Member’s Bill which seeks to introduce the ban and outlaw unstaffed, coin-operated tanning booths. The Bill is being launched by Julie Morgan, MP for Cardiff North, and Cancer Research UK. A similar ban came into force in Scotland in December and it is expected that Wales will follow suit.

This decision has been based on the large increase in skin cancer deaths among young women who used sunbeds. Skin cancer rates are rising faster than any other type of cancer and more than quadrupled over the period 1977 to 2006. Last year, a 14 year old schoolgirl suffered 70% burns after using an unmanned sunbed. This led to the judge in the case to call for measures to stop this ‘reckless’ use of sunbeds. The owner of the salon admitted to fi ve health and safety offences and was sentenced to community service.

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill 2009-10 received its Second Reading on 29 January 2010. If passed before the General Election, this Bill could become law within months.