Intended for healthcare professionals


Reducing sunbed use in young people

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 18 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c990
  1. J Mark Elwood, vice president1,
  2. Richard P Gallagher, head2
  1. 1Family and Community Oncology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1G1
  2. 2Cancer Control Research, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1L3
  1. melwood{at}

    Does this require legislation or voluntary regulation?

    In the linked study (doi:10.1136/bmj.c877), Thomson and colleagues report two related surveys in England (with some data from Scotland and Wales) on the use of sunbeds by young people.1 In the national English survey, the prevalence of “ever use” of a sunbed rose from 1.8% at age 11-14 to 11.2% at age 15-17, and it was higher in girls, in the north of England, and in lower socioeconomic groups, reaching around 50% in older girls in some cities. About half the users had used a sunbed within the past month so may be regular users. This is the largest such survey in Britain, but no information on skin type or ethnic background was given. These prevalence figures are lower than those from some other European countries, the United States, and Australia, but they are still substantial and may be increasing. The authors are unequivocal in calling for legislation to outlaw the use of sunbeds by those under 18 and to ban coin operated and unstaffed outlets.

    Why would anyone want to be “slow roasted as the filling in a sunbed sandwich”?2 Because sun tanned skin is …

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