Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:34 am on 29th January 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Julie Morgan Julie Morgan Labour, Cardiff North 11:34 am, 29th January 2010

I thank the hon. Lady for her supportive intervention; that would be a good situation to arrive at.

I want to say again that this is not about regulating for the sake of it. We must protect our children from an activity that can, as we have heard, become seriously and dangerously addictive. I hope hon. Members have seen the briefing from Cancer Research UK, which I thank for its endless work on the issue. It carried out some focus group research with young people under 18, who said for example that they went

"twice a week with my sister-I'm a bit of an addict, I have a block booking"; and

"I couldn't see myself going pale again", reflecting the point made by Sandra Gidley; and

"It's a bit addictive, once you see your tan starting to fade, you need to go back and top it up"; and

"I went through a phase where I would just not come off them-and I'd keep getting a block booking and going on them...I just loved it."

In Wales, a further 16 per cent. of the young people interviewed for Cancer Research UK said that although they have not yet used a sunbed, they may do so in future. In addition, one in five children who use sunbeds do so at least once a week. Anecdotally, I understand that it is not only young girls feeling the pressure to get a tan-young men are increasingly using sunbeds as well. This is a problem among our young people, and it requires action now.

It is important to point out that other countries are taking action. There is specific legislation on sunbed use in Belgium, Finland, France, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. In Scotland, action has been taken in the Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008, which contains measures to better regulate the sunbed industry, including a prohibition on the use of sunbeds by under-18s. It is very important that we protect under-18s in England and Wales as well. Why should minimum health, safety and good practice guidelines be met in other countries, but not here? We must recognise that under-18s are still able to use sunbeds with ease in England and Wales, often in coin-operated, unsupervised salons. We have a duty to act.

We also have a duty to act on public opinion, remembering that 87 per cent. of the public support banning under-18s from using sunbeds.

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website