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Bill for Formal Regulation of Tanning Salons

Ken Macintosh, the Labour MSP for Eastwood plans to publish a private member's bill for regulating tanning salons in order to ban children from their premises.// This is part of a clampdown against Scotland's rising incidents of skin cancer.

Coin-operated and unsupervised sun beds are to be banned as a part of this proposal. More information was also required to be published on the health risks of tanning and prohibit children under 16 using tanning equipment.

Skin cancer has been found to be rising to epidemic proportions in Scotland, with about 125 new cases being diagnosed every week.

According to Mr Macintosh, chairman of the cross-party group on cancer in the Scottish Parliament, "I am particularly concerned by evidence that children are using sunbeds, as they are especially sensitive to ultraviolet light. It is clear that the voluntary regulation system is ineffective and I am now convinced of the need for formal regulation in this area."

His bill proposes that salons obtain a licence from the local authorities before operations and permit inspection of their premises as well.

The proposed bill will receive wide support from skin experts as well as cancer campaigners.

According to professor Colin Munro, president of the Scottish Dermatological Society, Scotland's fair-skinned population is especially vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation damage that includes skin cancer. This has been seen in the number of reported cases of melanoma doubling every ten years.

Popular perceptions of cosmetic tanning as attractive and the resulting increase in use of sun beds has been blamed for the increase in skin cancer cases in Scotland from the 1970s.

However the Sun bed Association favours voluntary regulation and promotion of responsible use of sun beds.

Many health campaigners do not agree that self-regulation is enough, and welcomed the introduction of tighter controls.

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