Sunbed salons across the borough are being asked to stay vigilant in the run up to the busy school prom season after an undercover operation showed big improvements in the rate of checks for underage customers.
Wigan Council’s Trading Standards team have hit the streets once again visiting various premises offering tanning services and found shops refusing children and increasing checks.
Premises investigated last year have been revisited and found to correctly refuse the child volunteers. Other shops have been found to introduce more robust pre-checks on customers.
This shows a marked improvement to last year when five out of 12 shops failed to ask for proof of age in the investigation.
The introduction of the Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010, which came into force in 2011, means it is a criminal offence to allow a person under the age of 18 to use a sunbed or anyone who cannot prove they are an adult.
But as underage teenagers prepare for their proms, the warning is being repeated to businesses and Trading Standards are encouraging sunbed shops in the borough to ensure they operate a ‘Challenge 25’ age verification policy.
Mark Tilley, assistant director for infrastructure and regulatory services at Wigan Council, said: “It is extremely important that sunbed salon owners are vigilant when allowing members of the public to use their sunbeds.
“We are pleased businesses refused our child volunteers on recent visits but want to remind operators of their legal responsibilities so they can help to protect our children and young people.
“If you are a sunbed salon owner and are unsure how to adopt the Challenge 25 age policy please get in touch with our trading standards team for more information.”
Our Public Health team have also warned young people of the dangers of regularly using sunbeds which include the increased risk of developing skin cancer.
Professor Kate Ardern, the borough’s Director for Public Health, said: “Sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase your risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
“However, the risks are greater for young people with evidence showing that people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25 are at greater risk. While a tan can fade quickly, the long-term damage is irreversible.
“We would encourage young people to use safer alternatives such as tanning creams or spray tans.”
If any salon owner in Wigan Borough would like information on the law relating to the use of sunbeds by under 18s, they should contact Trading Standards on 01942 827476 or email [email protected].