By Kathryn Cummings
Manchester’s teenagers who want the golden glow all year-round were banned on Friday from using tanning salons because of increasing evidence that sunbeds cause cancer.
Businesses allowing under 18s to use sunbeds will face fines of up to £20,000 under new rules.
The crackdown was welcomed by the Department of Health and medical charities, which said that introducing proper controls on the previously unregulated industry was long overdue.
Sarah Woolnough, Cancer Research UK’s director of policy, said: “As well as protecting under 18s from sunbed use, we hope the legislation sends a clear message to all that using a sunbed increases the risk of skin cancer.
“The World Health Organisation has classified sunbed use in its highest risk category for cancer, alongside tobacco.”
Public Health Minister, Anne Milton, said: “We want to protect under 18s from the dangers of sunbeds and reduce the number of young people getting skin cancer.”
Under the Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 however, businesses will not be forced to ask for ID or keep a register of customers but local authorities will have to decide how to check businesses are complying with the law.
Owner of Finesse Tanning Centre, Sacha Dhawan, in Stevenson Square doesn’t think this new law will affect his business in any way.
“I have owned my tanning salon for twelve years, I already have a strict policy in place, and I ask anyone who I think looks underage for ID.”
Mr Dhawan, who has suffered from cancer himself, understands why this act has come into place, he believes there should be also a time allowance on a sunbed of only fifteen minutes as it is too easy to get burnt.
“Our salon always offers our clients a spray tan as an alternative to the sunbed, but a lot of the time they prefer the sunbeds as it makes them feel good and it’s also good for arthritis,” he said.
“I have had a few young girls come in over the years, and they do get offended when we ask them for ID, now this ban is in place and there is a fine at risk we will be tightening up on asking for ID, but it won’t affect my business we have plenty of clientele.”
Frank Quinn, owner of Pure Tanning in the city centre, also had a relaxed view on the ban.
He said: “I also own an off license next door to my salon, so I already have a strict policy in place, I already ID everyone who comes in to use our sunbeds, we never get any under 18s coming in to use our beds.”
Both owners also admit they are not worried about any spot checks on their business as they feel they are fully up to date with the new law.
The ban in Manchester has received a mix reaction, with some welcoming the law and others finding it an inconvenience.
Sarah Wheel, 17, from Salford, said: “I am gutted you have to be 18 to use sunbeds now, it’s so much easier to go on a sunbed then apply fake tan all the time, and cheaper.”
Katie Roberts, 21, from Stockport, said: “I think it’s terrible how young girls abuse their body to achieve a Z-list celebrity look, I’m glad they’ve banned them from sunbeds, it’s about time, cancer beds more like.”
Amy Rogers, 17, from Manchester, said: “I’m so annoyed this ban has come in, I use sunbeds often and feel so much better when I have a tan, atleast I only have to wait a year until I can go on them again.”
One twitter user worryingly said: “Under 18s banned from sunbeds? Glad I look over 18.”
After an intense campaign, including lots of meetings and even an appearance by Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts in parliament, it will take a few years to see what the impact of this new legislation will make.