The Sunbed Association slams teenage sunbed use study

The Sunbed Association has attacked a Cancer Research UK study into the use of sunbeds by teenage girls, calling it “lightweight” and “embarrassing”.

The cancer charity conducted focus groups with 15 to 18-year-olds and found that in some parts of the UK, 15 to 17-year olds are using sunbeds regularly. Most teenagers said although they knew the risks involved they were happy to ignore them as a tan makes them feel more confident.

In 2011 it became illegal for under-18s to use sunbeds.

Gary Lipman, chairman of The Sunbed Association, said: “Quite frankly, this alleged qualitative investigation by Cancer Research UK is so lightweight it’s embarrassing."

He added: "With a sample of around five people per group aged 15-18 and a total of 69 nationally, it is both misleading and completely disingenuous for Catherine Thomson, head of statistical information at Cancer Research UK and co-author of the study, to claim that in some areas of the UK, half of all 15-17 year old girls are using sunbeds on a regular basis.”

Thomson said: “Introducing the legislation banning sunbed use by under 18s was vital to protect younger people from the harmful effects of UV. But proper supervision in salons is essential to combat the determination of teenagers to get round laws that are there for their own protection.”

Next month Cancer Research UK will start offering free cosmetic skin scans at sk:n clinics across the UK.