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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 September, 2003, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK
Councils urged to ban sunbeds
Many people use sunbeds to top up their tan
Sunbeds should be banned from all local authority leisure centres, according to environmental health officers.

The call will be made at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health's annual conference in Belfast.

Some studies have suggested that lying on sunbeds can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

Institute officials said it was inappropriate for local authorities to make money from sunbeds and that they should remove them.

Jenny Morris, CIEH policy officer, said: "Skin cancer is a major problem in the UK and by using sunbeds people are increasing the risk of contracting skin cancer, damaging their immune system and experiencing premature skin aging.

"As a lead player in protecting public health, it seems wholly inappropriate for local authorities to make money from the provision of sunbeds.

As a lead player in protecting public health, it seems wholly inappropriate for local authorities to make money from the provision of sunbeds
Jenny Morris,
CIEH policy officer

"The CIEH calls on all local authorities to phase out sunbeds from their leisure facilities."

Derry City Council in Northern Ireland was one of the first local authorities to ban sunbeds in its leisure centres earlier this year.

Councillors backed the move after hearing evidence of the links between sunbeds and skin cancer.

However, the Sunbed Association said there was no evidence to support a ban.

"There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that responsible use of sunbeds alone contributes to health concerns including skin cancer," said its secretary Kathy Banks.

"I do not understand why local authorities would seek to remove a service that millions of UK adults avail themselves of each year."

Ms Morris also called on local authorities to do more to warn people about the risks of exposing themselves to the sun without proper protection.

She said sun awareness campaigns should target children through their parents.

She also suggested local authorities should provide shaded areas in school playgrounds and protective clothing for outdoor employees.

She added that new buildings should have to include suitable shaded areas as a condition of planning permission.

"Hotter, sunnier summers are a reality in the UK, which means that sun awareness campaigns are a public health necessity and need to be incorporated into local authority health promotion campaigns," she said.

The BBC's Dharshini David
"Despite the warnings, one in six people use sunbeds twice a week"

Q&A: Sunbeds
22 Sep 03  |  Health
Doctors warn against sunbed use
10 Apr 03  |  Health
Council bans sunbeds
21 Feb 03  |  Northern Ireland
Sunbeds 'raise' skin cancer risk
06 Feb 02  |  Health

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