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Council responds to sunbed criticism

Corin Williams19/08/2011 - 00.00

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Sunderland City Council is to remove its last remaining sunbed tanning facility after the CIEH said it was an ‘outrage’ that local authorities were making money from an activity detrimental to health.

The council, which is a member of the Sunbed Association, took the decision to scrap a vertical tanning bed at a pool and sports centre in Silksworth following a review.

A recent CIEH survey revealed that nearly a third of councils provided sunbeds at leisure centres, with some allowing unsupervised sessions. Head of policy David Kidney liked the practice to providing cigarette machines in hospitals.

Sunderland councillor Dave Alan, portfolio holder for resources, said: ‘The health and wellbeing of customers is of paramount importance to us. However, after a recent review of the popularity of the sunbed and the energy and maintenance costs to operate it, we are now in the process of removing it.’

Research conducted by Cancer UK last year revealed 50 per cent of girls aged between 15 and 17 in Sunderland admitted using sunbeds.

It is estimated the people under the age of 35 who use sunbeds increase their chances of getting a form of skin cancer by 75 per cent.

Melanoma skin cancer is the most common cancer in people aged 15 to 34, and around 660 women in that group in are diagnosed with melanoma each year.

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