Businesses face £20,000 fine for letting under-18s use sunbeds

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BURNLEY businesses could face fines of up to £20,000 if they allow children under 18 to use sunbeds.

The move to ban youngsters from tanning beds comes as skin cancer cases in East Lancashire have shot up 70% over the past 10 years.

Experts warn the fashion for sun-kissed skin is putting lives in danger with 70 new cancer cases diagnosed in the region each year leading to a 50% increase in deaths from malignant melanoma.

The Sunbed Regulations Act 2010 was passed to stop youngsters using the sunbeds which emit harmful UV rays than can cause potential-deadly forms of skin cancer.

The legislation will prevent under 18-year-olds from being allowed to use tanning salons and sunbeds at premises including beauty salons, leisure centres, gyms and hotels. It also stops youngsters from being offered the use of a sunbed or being allowed to be in an area reserved for sunbed users.

Dr Mark Smith, Consultant in Public Health at NHS East Lancashire said: “I welcome this new legislation that will prevent young people using sunbeds in commercial premises, as there is an increased risk of melanoma when young people’s skin is exposed to strong ultraviolet light.

“Of course, the risk of melanoma is also present with natural sunburn as well as using sunbeds.

“If your skin has gone red in the sun, it’s sunburnt. Sunburn doesn’t have to be red-raw, peeling or blistering.”

He explained that there are a number of ways that you can prevent sunburn and stay safe while you are out in the sun.

These steps include:

Wearing clothing to protect your skin from UV rays, such as a long-sleeve shirt, trousers and a wide-brimmed hat

Wearing good-quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays

Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight

Using sunscreen that has a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 (use a higher SPF for fair and sensitive skin), and reapply it frequently

Dr Smith added: “Seek advice immediately from your GP if you notice changes to any of your moles – for example, a change in their size, colour or texture.

“Most people do not apply enough sunscreen to their skin. For sunscreen to be effective, it is very important that you apply a generous amount to your skin before going out in the sun. Reapply it regularly (at least every two to three hours) and after going in the water.”