A TANNING salon manager says he is “amazed” by the amount of businesses still allowing youngsters to use dangerous sunbeds.
Shocking figures have revealed 32 per cent of tanning salons across the country are breaking the law and giving under-18s access to their equipment.
Since April 2011 it has been illegal to allow anyone under-18 to use a sunbed in a salon, and anyone caught giving youngsters access faces a fine of £20,000.
Adrian Courtney-Massey, manager of Spartan Sunbeds on Dickson Road, Blackpool, says the problem should not be an issue.
He said: “If someone looks under 20 we don’t let them in and have a lot of notices informing people that anyone under 18 is not allowed on a sunbed.
“The trouble with many sunbed shops is they open up for a short-term before closing and they are not aware of the regulations because they open just to make some money.
“A £20,000 fine is a very good deterrent in some respects.”
Although Blackpool Council carries out regular spot checks on businesses to prevent under-18s from using them, Mr Courtney-Massey wants more to be done.
He added: “I know the council is doing spot checks but I think it’s more about educating youngsters rather than the businesses because they need to know the dangers.
“Young people can get addicted to it because once they see the colour they don’t want to lose it.
“Some people want a tan only when they go on holiday while others want one all the time.”
Consultant dermatologist at Blackpool Victoria Hospital Dr Walter Bottomley said: “It is not uncommon for people to become almost obsessive about retaining their tan and therefore using sunbeds very regularly.
“I would, however, advise people against using artificial, ultraviolet methods to tan their skin.
“The link between prolonged sunbed use and skin cancer is well documented.
“In addition, on a cosmetic level, it increases the likelihood of premature ageing of the skin causing the skin to become dry, freckled and wrinkled.”
Coun Gary Coleman, cabinet member with responsibility for Quality Standards at Blackpool Council, added: “We are doing a lot of work to make sure we continue to protect young people from contracting skin cancer, and regulating our tanning salons is an important part of that.
“In December, we carried out a test purchasing exercise with all of Blackpool’s tanning salons, which a third of them failed.
“That was a disappointing and concerning result and we have worked with all of the premises to advise them about the new laws and how best to adhere to them.
“If any tanning salon fails further test purchasing the business will be prosecuted.”