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Cancer Research UK backs sunbed regulation in Scotland

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by Cancer Research UK | News

1 May 2006

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Cancer Research UK is backing Ken Macintosh MSP’s proposal to introduce a licensing scheme to regulate sunbed salons in Scotland. This would require local authorities to license tanning salons so that premises without a licence would not be allowed to trade.

A consultation launched today (May 2 2006) is aiming to win support from politicians, policy makers, local government and health bodies for legislation regulating sunbeds in the interests of health. The conditions of licensing would ensure that children do not use them and that all users are aware of the risks associated with sunbed use.

Genevieve Frisby, Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign manager said: “We support Ken Macintosh’s proposal in principle. Public perceptions of cosmetic tanning as desirable, and the increasing use of sunbeds, have contributed to the rise in skin cancer cases in Scotland since the 1970s. Regulating salons could make a significant impact on future skin cancer rates.

“Cancer Research UK is particularly concerned about the reports that children are using sunbeds. Under 16s should never use them. We also recommend that anyone with fair skin, lots of moles or freckles or a family history of skin cancer should avoid sunbeds. People on medication that could increase their sensitivity to UV should also avoid them.

“We believe that UV artificial tanning should be restricted to over-16s and that the practice of using unmanned coin-operated sunbeds should be discontinued as soon as possible. We support the mandatory introduction of notices in salons describing those most at risk from skin cancer and advising them against sunbed use.

“We would also like to see all sunbeds manufactured and sold in the EU bearing a permanent statement warning of the risks associated with use. Adults are free to make their own decisions but they should do so knowing the risks involved.”

Increasingly, this view is shared by other experts. In March the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) in the European Union said that the use of sunbeds to achieve and maintain cosmetic tanning is likely to increase the risk of malignant melanoma and that people with known risk factors for skin cancer should be advised against sunbed use.

Research has shown that using sunbeds can increase the risk of skin cancer and contributes to skin ageing by producing often concentrated doses of ultraviolet radiation. It has been estimated that sunbeds cause 100 deaths from melanomas every year in the UK*.


For further information please contact: Genevieve Frisby, SunSmart campaign manager 020 7061 8396 or Nick Stewart , press office 020 7061 8300

Note to Editors

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  1. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK and Scotland and the fastest rising in incidence. Malignant melanoma accounts for around 10 per cent of skin cancers diagnosed in the UK and is a potentially fatal form of skin cancer, claiming 1,800 lives a year (151 in Scotland).
  2. This year’s Cancer Research UK SunSmart campaign – which aims to raise awareness of skin cancer – is launched on Tuesday May 16 2006 and will focus on men and outdoor workers.