Experts demand 'tan tax' to reduce sunbed cancer risk

Caroline Cassidy

Sunbeds pose an even greater skin cancer risk than previously thought, a major new report has revealed.

skin cancer sunbed risk
skin cancer sunbed risk

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The machines, used in tanning salons up and down the country, have already been placed in the highest cancer risk category by health chiefs, but this latest report, published on, claims that using sunbeds increases the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer by a shocking 67 per cent.

Given the findings of the report, many of the 100,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers diagnosed each year in the UK could easily have been prevented. And now experts are demanding a "tan tax" be put on salons in order to curb such cases.

The report comes from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, who analysed the results of 12 studies involving more than 9,000 cases of the disease.

They claim that use of sunbeds "may account for hundreds of thousands of new cases each year in the United States alone" and added: "We hope these findings can support public health campaigns and motivate increased regulation to reduce exposure to this carcinogen, especially during early life."

Suggesting the "tan tax", Simon Williams, from Northwestern University in Chicago, estimates that between £95 million and £113 million could be raised over the course of ten years in the UK, simply by adding a ten per cent tax to sunbed treatments.

Nina Goad, of the British Association of Dermatologists, suggested a nationwide licensing system could help to prevent some cases, telling the Daily Express: "In particular, we need a ban on coin-operated sunbeds as these can be easily accessed by children."

Defending tanning salons in the UK, Gary Lipman, chairman of The Sunbed Association, said: "Unlike in the US where the study was conducted, we have leglislation throughout the UK prohibiting sunbed use by under-18s. Responsible tanning should be the key message."

What do you think? Would you support a "tan tax" or is "responsible tanning" the key to prevention? Leave your comments below...