Today in Parliament we held a briefing for MPs to kick start Julie Morgan’s bid to take forward a Private Member’s Bill on sunbeds, which would protect children and teenagers from the dangers of sunbeds.
The Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP, Secretary of State for Health, came to show his support along with Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud who is presenting a documentary on teenage tanning due to be broadcast later this year.
At Cancer Research UK we are deeply concerned about how easily sunbeds can be accessed by children and teenagers. Coin-operated sunbeds and unstaffed salons which offer cheap deals – some around 30p a minute – make using sunbeds extremely appealing to young people, especially girls.
And with the pressure felt by children and teenagers to have a tan, we are concerned that – unless action is taken – young sunbed users will only continue to fuel the dramatic rise in skin cancer rates in the UK.
Research shows that first using a sunbed under the age of 35 increases the risk of developing skin cancer by 75 per cent. This is alongside the irreversible damage caused to the skin. The only way to stop this and protect young children and teenagers is by having a law in place.
We know there’s huge public support for this Bill – 87 per cent want a law to stop under 18s using sunbeds and 90 per cent support sunbed salons being staffed. But although these movements in Parliament are encouraging, a law to stop under 18s using sunbeds is still a long way off.
What we need as a next step is to ensure that MPs show their support and come to the Second Reading of the Bill which takes place in parliament on Friday 29th January.
You can help by asking your MP to support the bill by emailing them using our handy tool.
Laura Dibb, Press Officer at Cancer Research UK