The House of Commons

It’s fantastic news. Following a major campaign from Cancer Research UK, Parliament yesterday passed a new law to protect under-18s from sunbeds.

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act will come into force in 12 months time and opens the door to making sure all sunbed salons will have to be staffed and provide accurate health information on the dangers of sunbeds.

The Act was introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by Julie Morgan MP in December 2009. It’s very rare for a Private Member’s Bill to actually become law but in this case, the evidence was overwhelming.

Thanks to the support from all the main parties, it was passed yesterday in the ‘wash-up’ in Parliament.

A key part of the evidence MPs considered was research recently published in the British Medical Journal by Catherine Thomson in our Statistical Information Department. It found that a quarter of a million children in England between the ages of 11 and 17 regularly use sunbeds.

Taken together with the fact that the International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC) now classifies sunbeds at the same cancer-causing level as tobacco, and that the intensity of some UV rays from sunbeds being up to 10-15 times higher than that of the midday sun, the case was hard to ignore.

Even so, we’d like to thank all our supporters who took the time to write to their MPs to ask them to support the bill – it wouldn’t have been possible without you.

And special thanks to Julie Morgan MP and Baroness Finlay for sponsoring the Bill, and to long term sunbeds campaigner Sian James MP, for all their fantastic work on this crucial issue.