TIME CALLED ON TEEN TAN; Sun bed ban call for under-18s to curb cancer risk.
THE Government is to ban under-18s from tanning shops.
Health Secretary Andy Burnham and Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts, from Runcorn, will speak later today to endorse a backbench bill to slap an age limit on sunbed use.
Hollyoaks actressGemmaMerna,who used sunbeds as a teenager, is also giving her support to the Bill.
Parliament could fast-track the legislation to ensure it is in place ahead of the next general election.
The move follows Cancer Research studies in Liverpool and Sunderland which found that half of all girls aged 15 to 17 regularly use sunbeds.
And treatments for melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer - has risen by 68% in Merseyside and by 94% in Liverpool.
Mr Burnham, originally from Newton-le-Willows, said: "We are determined to protect young people from the dangers of sunbeds.
"We nowhave evidence that voluntary action by the industry is failing - which points to the need for legislation.
"It is likely that a ban on sunbed use by under-18s will be necessary and we are exploring all options."
He is planning to pick up a private members bill introduced last year by Cardiff North MP Julie Morgan to make it a criminal offence for a sunbed operator to admit children and mid-teens.
Penalties will include hefty fines as well as the loss of operating licences.
Merseyside has the country's highest concentration of tanning salons, with 300 in Liverpool and Wirral alone.
Whiston hospital consultant dermatologist Sandra Winhoven recently warned teenagers that it can take 20 years before the full, and sometimes fatal, effects become clear.
Merna, 25, who plays Carmel Valentine in the soap filmed at Lime Pictures in Childwall, said: "I started to use sunbeds once or twice a week withmy friends when I was 15 but never realised the risks that I was putting my skin through just to get the perfect tan.
"When I was younger I just wanted to look tanned and to fit in with everyone and didn't give any thought to the risks I was taking.
"I now realise the damage that sunbeds can do and support any move to ban them to under-18s."
More than 50 MPs, including several from Merseyside, have backed a Commons motion demanding a ban on children using sunbeds.
They highlighted an International Agency for Research on Cancer report which classified sunbed overuse as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.
A Cancer Research spokesman said: "Mr Burnham has expressed enthusiasm for taking action on sunbeds, but Parliamentary time is short. We will continue to work closely to ensure that there is as much support in Parliament as possible for the sunbed bill." READ The Scottish Parliament introduced tanning salon curbs last month. Have the tanning at echo./ But in England and Wales there is no law enforcing a voluntary code by the Sunbed Association which states that under-16s should not use them.
READ MORE Have your sayon the tanning plans at liverpool echo.co.uk /forums
CALL: Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts will back the war on under-18 tanning CANCER FEAR: Liverpool has highest concentration of tanning salons attracting women and girls. Holloakas actress Gemma Merna, above, thinks banning under-18s from tanning shops is a good idea
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|Publication:||Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||Jan 13, 2010|
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