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Liverpool City Council and skin cancer campaigners across the country are urging the Government to change legislation for sunbed licencing.
As it stands, sunbed salons own licences which state they cannot let under-18s use their tanning products such as sunbeds in order to stop underage youngsters putting their health, and lives in danger. In 2011, it was found that two 15-34 year olds were diagnosed with the most dangerous form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. It was a lot easier and cheaper to use sunbeds when there wasn’t an age-restriction upon them, but doctors and healthcare professionals decided that the amount of young people putting themselves at risk every single day was too high to let it continue.
Doctor Ranj Singh, who specialises in young people’s health told the BBC at the time, “Using sunbeds exposes you to an intense form of radiation and that’s what’s most dangerous. If you use sunbeds in an unregulated way, you may end up with skin cancer.”
Research in Liverpool has found that a staggering 80% of young women who use sunbeds are unaware of the skin cancer risk attached to them. The results come just as it is reported that 2014 skin cancer rates are five times higher in the UK than in the 1970s, and skin cancer clinics in Liverpool are under increasing pressure for the huge numbers of people requiring treatment.
City campaigners say lives will be saved should the council be given powers to licence sunbed salons and make sure they are practicing the recommended health and safety standards to limit the damage that sunbeds can cause. They are now calling on people to show support by signing a petition online and to help prompt a debate in Parliament.
Both the council and skin cancer campaigners insist that the previous legislation that was in place to protect under-18s is obviously ineffective, as skin cancer rates in Liverpool are significantly higher than other cities in the UK. Health professionals say the popularity of sunbed use in Liverpool and the prevalence of hundreds of unregulated salons present a ticking health time bomb.
“Liverpool has significant levels of sunbed use compared to other parts of the country, yet the council currently has very few powers to protect residents from the risks of using them”, said Councillor Roy Gladden, Assistant Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health.