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30 April 2012
Up to 32 percent of tanning salons are breaking the law by NOT verifying the age of underage customers, a survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has revealed. Since April 2011 it has been illegal to allow anyone under 18 to use a sunbed in a tanning salon.
The survey involved 'secret' visits to 81 tanning salons in 12 local authority areas. The findings will be presented tomorrow at the CIEH's annual public health conference in Cardiff on 2/3 May.
Commenting, Julie Barratt, CIEH Director, said:
“It is quite alarming that a year since the introduction of nationwide ban on anyone under the age of 18 using sunbeds, our survey has found such a significant percentage of tanning salons flouting the law. The law is clear and very recent. There is no excuse for putting the health of young people at risk.
“If the same percentage of off licenses or tobacco shops were selling cigarettes and alcohol to underage customers there would be an understandable sense of outrage.
“The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health campaigned for many years for tough legislation to control the use of tanning facilities as our members came across children as young as ten who had sustained severe burns and blistering after using sunbeds.
“We called for under-18s to be banned from using tanning beds and for tighter controls on unmanned and coin operated booths.
“Sunbed users are increasing their risk of developing a life-threatening form of skin cancer by three-quarters. We also know that using sunbeds from an early age increases the risk of malignant melanoma by 75 per cent.
“Skin cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the UK. Almost 9,000 cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed in the UK annually and more than 1,800 die from the disease each year.”
“All tanning salons were advised in writing and many were visited by local authority officials before and after the law was passed. All tanning salon owners should ensure that anyone working in their facility understands the law.”
The CIEH survey also examined whether tanning facilities were complying with other aspects of the sunbed legislation including whether there was adequate consumer safety information for customers such as whether they had a family history of skin cancer, experienced burns or blistering in a previous session in a tanning salon and if they had a pre-existing skin condition. In 92 percent of premises visited compliance in areas other than age verification were not carried out.