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Sunbeds

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what options are being considered for regulation of the sunbed industry, as mentioned in the cancer reform strategy; (185407)

(2) with reference to the cancer reform strategy, in what manner the SunSmart campaign will expand; when the expansion will become effective; and what activities it will cover;

(3) what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive on the provision of health-related information in (a) supervised and (b) unsupervised sunbed salons;

(4) what recent discussions his Department's (a) public health and (b) cancer teams have had on the regulation of (i) (A) supervised and (B) unsupervised sunbed salons and (ii) the usage of sunbeds by those under the age of 18;

(5) what recent discussions he has had with (a) the sunbed industry and (b) stakeholders in the health community on the health effects of sunbed usage;

(6) what estimate he has made of the level of usage of (a) supervised and (b) unsupervised sunbed salons by under 18 year olds in the latest period for which figures are available;

(7) what recent discussions he has had with (a) the World Health Organisation, (b) his counterparts in the European Union and (c) the Scottish Executive on the use of sunbeds by those under the age of 18;

(8) what steps his Department is taking to determine the number and distribution of (a) supervised and (b) unsupervised sunbed salons; and over what timescale;

(9) if he will bring forward regulations to require minimum standards of (a) clarity and (b) uniformity in respect of information provided in (i) sunbed salons and (ii) unsupervised sunbed salons.

The Department is reviewing what options can be considered for the regulation of tanning salons with the help of stakeholders, both inside and outside of Government.

For example, we have met with representatives from the tanning industry and voluntary organisations with an interest in young people, and engaged with other Government Departments, the Scottish Executive and international organisations on the issue of sunbeds, both supervised and unsupervised.

The aim is to strike a balance between consumer safety and choice and to focus initially on the potential harm to young people under 18 years using sunbeds. As part of the review we are working with stakeholders to develop proposals to ascertain the extent of usage of sunbeds by minors and the distribution of sunbed outlets.

In the meantime, the Health and Safety Executive is shortly expected to publish for consultation on its website a revised version of leaflet INDG209 ‘Controlling health risks from the use of Ultraviolet tanning equipment’. This will include draft guidance for operators and information for customers.

SunSmart is the national prevention and sun protection campaign, run by Cancer Research UK on behalf of the United Kingdom Health Departments. The Cancer Reform Strategy is a five-year strategy and the details of implementing the many actions outlined in the strategy (including those relating to skin awareness) are currently being worked through.