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COUNCILS' 'MORAL DUTY' TO BAN SUNBEDS - DOCTOR

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Local authorities should ban all sunbeds from council leisure facilities, said Jonathan Morris in an interview with...
Local authorities should ban all sunbeds from council leisure facilities, said Jonathan Morris in an interview with BBC Radio Four's Today programme.

Dr Morris, of Dumfries and Galloway Hospital, who raised the issue in a letter published in the current issue of the British Medical Journal, said dermatologists were living through an epidemic of skin cancers, which were increasing in incidence faster than any other cancer - doubling every 10 years.

Skin cancers were caused by ultra-violet radiation, most of which people received from being outside in sunshine. 'But there are a lot of people out there who do get a lot of ultra-violet radiation from being on sunbeds', he added.

All sunbeds were harmful, stated Dr Morris, who said this was not a maverick view of his own. The department of health has stated that skin cancer is a serious public health problem and that people should avoid the use of sunbeds because they were not recommended for cosmetic purposes.

At least two local authorities have banned sunbeds. Dr Morris said that was not a large number and commented: 'I think obviously financial gain comes into the equation here. Sunbeds are popular and they do provide a good revenue for local authorities.

'But I think local authorities should operate to a higher moral and ethical standard than, say, the sunbed emporia in the high street. After all, what's a local authority for? It is really to provide facilities which are beneficial to its constituents'.

If people wanted to look tanned, by far the safest way to do it was to use an artificial tanning cream or lotion, added Dr Morris.

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