Public health boss claims 500 cases sun bed related

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HEALTH bosses have warned of the size of Doncaster’s sun bed related skin cancer problem, as laws to ban their use by children comes into force.

One of the borough’s top public health experts believe there are around 500 cases of the disease caused every year in the borough through sun beds.

Dr Rupert Suckling, Doncaster’s deputy director of public health, said: “As well as causing premature skin ageing, excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays through sun beds causes skin cancer in about 500 Doncaster people every year. Though most cases are curable, about 12 Doncaster residents die from the more serious skin cancers each year.

“Some sun bed rays can be 10 to 15 times higher than that of the midday sun.”

The warning comes as Doncaster Council is reminding residents and businesses that people under the age of 18 can no longer use sun beds at tanning salons.

A Regulation Act came into force last month and requires salons to ensure no person under the age of 18 can use a sun bed on their premises. Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the changes.

Coun Cynthia Ransome, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and customer and regulatory services, said: “It is vital businesses are aware of this new legislation, as anyone found to be breaking the rules could be fined up to £20,000.

“We will be working with businesses across the borough to help ensure they comply with the new act.”

The Sunbed Association says there is no science to support the 18 age limit, but it welcomed all efforts to prevent minors from using sun beds, and its members had always been required to prohibit use by under-16s.

A statement said: “Underage use cannot be tolerated but neither is it a widespread issue.

Cancer Research UK’s own research shows that 88 per cent of 15 to 17 year olds had never used a sun bed. And of those that had, 50 per cent had used a sun bed once or less than once a year.”