A SUNBED ban could be closer than ever, after the Government said it would consider the move.
There have been calls to rid them for years, with The Sun’s Fabulous campaign Dying For A Tan raising awareness about the dangers.
But it’s not until now that ministers are set to take on the debate.
Health minister James Morris on Tuesday agreed to discuss a ban on sunbeds after Labour MP Sarah Owen pressed the Government to take the “dangers of sunbeds seriously”.
Ms Owen, MP for Luton North, said: “Sunbeds continue to be used all-year round at very high risk.
“So does the minister agree it’s time we took the dangers of sunbeds seriously and does the minister support Melanoma UK’s campaign to ban the use of sunbeds – and if not, why not?”
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Mr Morris replied: “Given the weather we’re experiencing at the moment, issues to do with melanoma are high on the priority list.
“I’m very happy to meet with the honourable lady to discuss the specific issues she’s raised in relation to sunbeds.”
Sunbeds give out UV rays, and exposure to UV rays increases the risk of malignant melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer.
Melanoma UK chief executive Gillian Nuttall said melanomas and other skin cancers are “increasingly common” in the UK.
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More than 170,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year, and almost 2,500 die of the disease.
Since the early 1990s, the incidence of melanoma skin cancer – the most deadly form – has doubled in the UK.
And over the last decade alone, melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have increased by around a third.
Ms Nuttall said: “Most skin cancers are preventable by reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and indoor tanning devices – sunbeds/tanning beds.
“Logically, it is therefore possible to reduce the burden of skin cancer by banning the use of commercial sunbeds.
“This is not a new idea: Australia and Brazil banned them many years ago.
“The UK must act now.
"Understanding the cost and consequences of a ban on sunbeds in the UK would provide useful evidence for healthcare decision makers.
“A ban on sunbeds along with a public health campaign would save lives and reduce NHS treatment costs.”
She added that treatment of skin cancers “places a heavy burden” on the NHS.
Gary Lipman, chairman of the Sunbed Association, said there is “no robust scientific evidence that demonstrates a causal relationship between responsible sunbed use by those able to tan and melanoma”.
He added: “Sunbed use in the UK is regulated and members of the Sunbed Association operate to our strict operational code of practice.
“We very much look forward to having the opportunity to meet with Sarah Owen MP and minister James Morris to present our position.”
A survey in 2019 revealed more than three-quarters of dermatologists believe sunbeds should be banned completely in the UK.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there is significant evidence to show that using tanning beds causes melanoma.
They report that sunbeds increase the risk of skin cancer by up to 20 per cent, and also state that they have no positive benefits to our health.
Cancer Research back this statistic, adding that " there is no such thing as a safe tan from UV radiation".
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One study found that sunbeds can almost double the risk of cancer compared to never using them – with women 83 per cent more likely to develop the disease.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), sunbeds are as dangerous as smoking.
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