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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
GP seeks action on tanning craze
Skin cancer can take up to 30 years to develop
A Kent GP has backed calls for a rise in the legal age that people can use sunbeds amid fears of skin cancer.

Howard Stoate, MP for Dartford, said he would like to see the age limit raised from 16 to 18 in all tanning salons.

It follows concerns that increasing numbers of young teenage boys and girls are becoming addicted to tanning.

Dr Stoate said too many youngsters were exposing themselves to harmful UV rays too often and too early in life, and running the risk of long term damage.

"The greater the exposure, the greater the risk," he said.

EU advice

Dr Stoate explained that it can take up to 30 years to develop skin cancer.

He told BBC Radio Kent: "Damage done at a young age can lead to extremely serious problems later on in life.

"When people are using them [sunbeds] for excessive lengths of time, and frequently during the week, you simply add up the damage," he said.

His warning comes in the same week that the European Commission advised young people and those with fair skin to avoid using sunbeds.

It is to ask consumer bodies and member states in the EU to issue health advice to ensure people are aware of the risk.

The commission also wants adequate health warnings to be placed on sunbeds, tanning lamps and other ultraviolet radiation devices.

Sheridan backing sunbed controls
02 May 06 |  Scotland
Young children 'using sun beds'
14 Dec 05 |  Merseyside


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