A sunbed

Under 18s not asked for ID at Welsh tanning salons

‘No matter how young or old people look they must show ID’, says CIEH President
21 July 2022 , By Katie Coyne

Undercover investigation shows multiple breaches of the regulations at Welsh tanning salons, giving under 18s access to sunbeds

An undercover investigation carried out by the BBC has discovered that tanning salons in Wales are illegally allowing under 18-year-olds to use their sunbeds.

Footage from the BBC Wales’ X-Ray programme showed two 17-year-olds being let into two tanning salons in Newport and Cardiff, with no ID checks.

In total, the two girls visited 12 salons across South Wales, as part of the investigation, five of whom took payment and demonstrated how to operate the sunbeds.

This is concerning as using a sunbed before the age of 35 can increase your chances of developing skin cancer by 59%, according to the charity Cancer Research UK.

The charity campaigned to change the law in England and Wales back in 2011, setting the legal age that people could use sunbeds at 18. The law came into force in Northern Ireland the following year. Salons face fines, or can have their licenses taken away if they fail to comply.

The BBC investigation also brings to light a Manchester University collaborative study published last year in the peer reviewed journal, Children, looking at sunbed use among youngsters, which estimated a staggering 62,130 children are using sunbeds in England.

“They weren't asked to [provide ID] and certainly there was no proof of ID and that's very concerning.”

Julie Barrett, CIEH President was interviewed as part of the BBC programme. She said the footage showed multiple breaches of the regulations and added: “It doesn't matter how young people look or how old people look, the requirement is they produce ID.

“They weren't asked to [provide ID] and certainly there was no proof of ID and that's very concerning.”

Dr Emma Wedgeworth, Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson said: "Sunbeds are classified by the WHO as a Group 1 carcinogen – the highest level of evidence that a substance causes cancer. Sunbeds increase the risk of all types of skin cancer, including melanoma, the most dangerous type. The earlier you start sunbeds and the more you use them, the greater the risk. Children should absolutely not be allowed to use sunbeds."

Gary Lipman, Chair of The Sunbed Association added that there was “absolutely no excuse” for salons to allow under 18s access to sunbeds. “It is the clear responsibility of the salon to ensure they have the appropriate protocols in place to prohibit underage use.”

Lipman added that “the vast majority” of the industry is run by professionals who comply with the law. He said the association provides training to ensure their staff know about the age restrictions, and encourages members to run Challenge 21 or Challenge 25 schemes. This means if a person appears to be under 21 or 25 years old they are asked to verify that they are 18 or over by showing valid ID.

X-Ray was originally shown on Monday July 4th, 2022 at 8pm on BBC One Wales, but it is currently available on iPlayer.


Image credit: Shutterstock

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