sunbed teenA national survey of more than 3,000 11-17-year-olds has found that more than half of those who have ever used a sunbed have been burnt at least once.

The findings were presented at Public Health England’s annual National Cancer Intelligence Network Conference in Birmingham earlier this month.

There are a much smaller number of under-18s using sunbeds with the Cancer Research UK-funded survey also revealing that, since the ban on young people’s using sunbeds less than 5% do so – down from 6.7% in 2009.

However, the findings of continued unlicensed practice have prompted the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Skin (APPGS) to urge the government to begin a “severe clampdown” on salons who offer tanning services to under-18s.

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Professor Harry Moseley from the British Association of Dermatologists, who have been advised the APPGS, said: “Many providers of sunbed facilities are failing to ensure that they reach basic standards.

“Skin cancer cases in the UK are rising at an alarming rate [non-melanoma skin cancer exceeded 100,000 cases last year] and there is little doubt that sunbed use increases risk of skin cancer, especially in fair-skinned populations.

“The government needs to close loopholes in the current regulations, such as under-18s using unmanned tanning facilities, and stricter action against businesses that continue to use appliances irresponsibly and produce radiant doses well above acceptable levels.”

The APPGS’ recommendations to the Department of Health also include compliance testing for radiance limits, a ban on unmanned facilities, skin screening for all customers, mandatory health information for all users and goggle provision.

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