Liverpool council campaign to fight sun bed 'obsession'

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Media captionA spokesman said the campaign wanted sun bed legislation improved

A campaign to combat Liverpool's "unhealthy obsession" with sun beds has been launched by the city council.

The Look To Die For campaign aims to improve information given to sun bed users and push for all premises with sun beds to be licensed.

Councillor Roy Gladden said it was aimed at getting local authorities "the powers they need to protect" locals.

The Sunbed Association said the legislation had been in effect for a number of years.

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010, which came into effect in April 2011, limits the use of sun beds at salons in England to over 18s and owners can be fined up to £20,000 if they allow younger teenagers on the beds.

However, a spokesman for the Look To Die For campaign said the council wanted that legislation improved so that every premises with sun beds are licensed and every user given information about the dangers of use.

Prior to the legislation, the charity Cancer Research UK carried out a survey, which found that 50% of 15 to 17-year-old girls in the city had used a sun bed on a weekly basis.

'Properly trained'

The spokesman said further research carried out by the council in 2012 found some salons were still allowing under-18s to use sun beds.

He said that, as a result, the council wanted to have every commercial sun bed in the city under the supervision of a "properly trained member of staff", have detailed signage about the dangers of use displayed in every premises and ensure that protective eyewear was given to every user.

Mr Gladden said he wanted England to come into line with other parts of the UK in terms of legislation.

"Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have gone a great deal further, ensuring that materials in the outlets - whether it be a salon, hairdressers or gym - has to inform people about the risks.

"They also insist that staff are trained and they supply things like goggles."

He added that Liverpool had a "significant problem with sun bed use" and "hundreds of Liverpudlians are going through our hospitals with melanoma every week", which was something which the campaign wanted to stop.

"If you want to use a sun bed as an adult, you have every right to use it, but I want you to know the risks," he said.

'Clamp down hard'

The Sunbed Association's Gary Lipman said the organisation was "at a complete loss to understand why Liverpool City Council has launched this campaign, as legislation which we fully supported has been in existence for a number of years".

Image caption Mr Gladden said Liverpool had a "significant problem with sun bed use"

"All local authorities have the authority and duty to enforce compliance with legislation and regulation through Trading Standards.

"With legislation in place, it is a concern that Liverpool City Council does not appear to fulfilling its obligation to clamp down hard on any business that is breaking the law."

A series of events, including demonstrations of how to use fake tan and one-one sessions with tanning experts will take place in the city across August and September as part of the campaign.

The events will be followed by a roll-out of the campaign across Liverpool's schools and college in October.

The campaign has been backed by the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group and Cancer Research UK.

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