Understanding sunbeds

Each time a sunbed is used it is significantly increasing the chance of a melanoma diagnosis. As such, we can not condone their use under any circumstance.

We implore you not to use them and to help us make sure everybody knows the life-threatening risks invovled.

Please also remember that it is illegal for anyone under 18 to use a sunbed.

Unfortunately there are still some people making wholly inaccurate claims about potential benefits of using a sunbed. Please let us know if you see such claims anywhere – sadly some people will believe them. These can easily be stopped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as proven by Melanoma Focus adviser John Rouse in October 2013:

When a member of the Facebook group ‘Melanomamates’ posted a link to a sunbed salon making extraordinary claims, I had a look, and was so incensed that I raised a case with the Advertising Standards Authority. The advertisement made a number of claims about potential health benefits of tanning, based on increased vitamin D intake from UV light, including: improved bone structure, reduced risk of heart disease, increased well-being, weight loss [Yes, really!], reduced cancer risk, stronger immune system, cure of skin disorders and reduced risk of burning.

I expected quite a battle, as the sunbed lobby have a powerful organisation. So I asked for help from the British Association of Dermatologists, Cancer Research UK, and the Melanoma Clinical Studies Group, and each offered some expert witnesses to assist.

However it appeared this was all unnecessary, as the ASA ruled that, as sunbeds were not CE-marked medical devices, any medical claims made in the advertisement were in breach of the Committees of Advertising Practice Code 12.1: ‘Medicinal or medical claims and indications may be made for a medicinal product that is licensed by the MHRA or EMEA, or for a CE-marked medical device’.

So, a big ‘thank you’ for all who offered their help, and a thank you also to the ASA for coming down in favour of those who believe advertising should be truthful and honest.







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