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Page last updated at 10:10 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 11:10 UK
Sunbed cancer warning
By Helen Neill
Newsbeat health reporter

Woman on sunbed
Scotland is considering banning teenagers from using sunbeds

Most sunbed users have already increased their risk of developing the most deadly form of skin cancer by 75%, according to Cancer Research UK.

It has carried out research that suggests that the vast majority of sunbed users (82%) first went to a salon before they were 35.

Doctor Kat Arney, who speaks for the charity, said: "We know that the younger you are, the more delicate your skin is.

"Damaging it through excessive sunbathing or through a sunbed; that's going to cause damage to the DNA in your skin cells and increase your risk of skin cancer."

Cancer Research UK is calling for legislation to prevent under-18s using sunbeds and to ban unmanned coin-operated sunbeds.

Newsbeat has spoken to sunbed users in Liverpool. According to recent research, around 60% of teenage girls in the city have used a tanning salon.

The younger you are, the more delicate your skin is
Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK

Lindsey, 19, said that she had been going on sunbeds since she was 16: "I know all the risks, I'd rather have a tan."

However Lauren, who said that she used a sunbed every day between the ages of 11 and 14, has now given up: "I had to stop going on them because my skin went dead bad. I was peeling and my face went like leather, it was horrible."

Voluntary code of practice

The Sunbed Association represents salon operators.

Its members have to follow a voluntary code of practice.

Its chief executive Kathy Banks said: "Members of The Sunbed Association already operate an age restriction of no under-16s.

"We aren't aware of any medical or scientific reason why it should be higher".

The government advises against the use of sunbeds.

A spokesperson for the the Department of Health said that it is considering limiting access in England, but "no decisions have as yet been taken".

There are proposals for new laws in Scotland that would prevent under-18s from using sunbeds.



SEE ALSO
Sunbed use 'puts lives at risk'
Monday, 7 April 2008, 23:48 GMT |  Health
Teenagers in skin cancer 'risk'
Monday, 25 February 2008, 15:35 GMT |  Merseyside
Teenagers face Scottish sunbed ban
Monday, 21 January 2008, 07:48 GMT |  Health
Skin cancers
Friday, 10 July 2009, 09:22 GMT |  Health

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