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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.

Th e Royal Environmental Health Institute for Scotland as well as the British Medical Association (BMA) welcomed the proposed regulation of tanning salons and sun beds.

According to Dr Dean Marshall, from the BMA's Scottish Council, said: ‘The British Photodermatology Group recommends that sun beds are not used at all, but if they are this should be limited to no more than two courses a year of no more than 10 sessions each.’

‘Yet research shows that some people are having more than 100 sun bed sessions in one year.’

Dr Marshall also mentioned the need to educate people about the dangers associated with sun beds to effectively counter the myths about tanning.

He considered it especially ironic that people used sun beds thinking they would look better when in all probability they would end up looking old prematurely and possibly get skin cancer as well.

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