New Rules on Sunbed Use Come into Force

Posted: 8th April 2011

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010, which was introduced in Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill, came into force on 8 April 2011.

Regulation was anticipated after a 2009 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer reported a clear link between the use of sunbeds and skin cancer, with people who began using UV-emitting tanning devices before the age of 30 found to be up to 70 per cent more likely to develop melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. This finding prompted a number of local authorities to remove sunbeds from leisure centres.
Under the Act, it is an offence for sunbed business operators to allow people in England and Wales under age 18 to use their tanning machines. The use of sunbeds by children is only allowed if it is necessary in order to treat a medical condition and takes place under the supervision or direction of a registered medical practitioner.
The Act also allows for more stringent restrictions to be implemented, including the power to require any person who carries on a sunbed business to provide customers with information on the health risks associated with sunbed use and to impose a duty on operators to ensure that protective eyewear is made available and is worn by users.
The Welsh Assembly has announced its intention to make full use of the powers available to it under the Act and will introduce further measures, from 31 October 2011, which will include a ban in Wales on the unsupervised use of sunbeds.