Under-18s in England and Wales could be banned from using sunbeds in tanning salons because of the risk of cancer under government-backed proposals announced this week.
Cancer Research UK says people who first use a sunbed under the age of 35 increase their risk of developing skin cancer later by 75%.
Now ministers and lawmakers want to take action to cut from over 100 000 the number of Britons diagnosed with skin cancer per year. "The scientific evidence is clear -- sunbeds increase your risk of getting skin cancer," said Health Secretary Andy Burnham.
"It is far too easy for young people to use sunbeds and I am determined to take action to protect them."
Celebs backing the bill
Figures show that 6% of English children aged between 11 and 17 have used a sunbed -- with the figure rising to 11% in the less sunny north of England.
The bill is backed by celebrities including Nicola Roberts of pop band Girls Aloud. It has a limited chance of being passed due to a lack of parliamentary time as it was originally proposed by a backbench lawmaker, Labour's Julie Morgan.
But the government's backing increases the chance of success. More than 2 600 people die from skin cancer every year in Britain. - (Sapa, January 2010)