Derbyshire MP Calls For End To "Killing Machines"
13 February 2019, 13:53 | Updated: 13 February 2019, 13:54
A Derbyshire MP has called for a ban on sunbeds - calling them "killing machines".
Pauline Latham spoke about the discovery of her own malignant mole and the death of her brother from a melanoma.
She urged the Government to ban the commercial use and sale of sunbeds, adding that Brazil and Australia had already banned them commercially.
Speaking during her Westminster Hall debate, Mrs Latham said: "I'd like to go as far as calling for a ban. Who needs sunbeds? No-one. But many people in the UK believe they look healthier with a tan, but it couldn't be further from the truth.
"Last year I had my own personal scare, I found a mole which was malignant. After a torturous three weeks waiting for the results I found out that luckily the tumour had not spread."
The MP for Mid Derbyshire said a suntan continued to be desired accessory and an estimated three million Britons used sunbeds, but according to the World Health Organisation they were as dangerous as smoking.
She said people who had used a sunbed at least once had a 20% higher risk of developing melanoma, adding that those who started using sunbeds before the age of 35 were 87% more likely to develop melanoma compared with people who had never used a sunbed.
It was "quite frightening" that cases of malignant melanoma had more than quadrupled in the UK in the last 30 years.
Labour's Chris Bryant (Rhondda) branded sunbeds "pernicious death machines" which "rely on people's vanity".
Mrs Latham replied: "They are killing machines and (that) nobody needs to use them because nobody needs a tan. It is purely vanity... this is one that is a deadly vanity and it's a waste of everybody's time and money."
People who spent a long time on sunbeds or in the sun "look like dried-up prunes when they get older", she added.
"Whilst the temptation to achieve that sun-kissed glow is understandable, risking contracting such a deadly disease is not, the unnecessary exposure to UV is nonsensical. I'd implore anyone to get a fake tan through a bottle or can and not a sunbed."
Shadow public health minister Sharon Hodgson said she had used sunbeds, adding: "I didn't realise how bad for you they were and I would often use them before I went on holiday to get a base."
She said the Government "must look at sunbed regulation again to assess if they need to be updated almost 10 years on since they were first published", adding: "It must be a priority for the Government to ensure that people know the risks of sunbed use before they use them as well as during and after their use."
Public health minister Steve Brine said the Sunbeds (Regulation Act) 2010 prohibited under-18s from using commercial sunbeds. He said it was much safer to use fake tan, adding: "Fake it, don't bake it."
"Banning was one option under consideration but I think the adverse impacts need to be considered very carefully to avoid the unintended effects. I think we have to be aware of unintended consequence."
Mr Brine said there was a "need to look at the regulations again" and the Government was working on a prevention green paper.
He said: "If we look at the evidence and if we think that banning commercial use of sunbeds while taking into account the possibly unintended consequences... could be part of prevention then I don't rule that out, I absolutely do not rule that out."