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A Matter of Life and Death? Regulating to Avert the Risks of Cancer from Cosmetic Sunbed Use in the UK and Australia

Latham, MJ and McHale, JV (2017) A Matter of Life and Death? Regulating to Avert the Risks of Cancer from Cosmetic Sunbed Use in the UK and Australia. Journal of Medical Law and Ethics, 5 (3). pp. 81-100. ISSN 2213-5405

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Abstract

Sunbed use can be seen as part of a beauty regime, a means of ensuring a bronzed desirable appearance. However there is an increasingly sinister side to the tanning phenomena. Tanning in the latter part of the 20th Century and early years of the 21st Century is no longer simply a question of beauty and desirability. Tanned skin may lead to skin cancer.This paper focuses on the dangers posed by sunbed use to obtain an artificial tan. First it explores the risks of sunbed tanning, how it can be viewed as a question for public health and the prospects for regulation. Secondly, it explores the current scope of legal regulation of sunbed use in the UK and how existing regulation has proved problematic. Thirdly, using Australia as an example it examines the case for prohibition of commercial tanning operations. Finally it concludes by arguing that the time has come to move towards prohibition of commercial sunbed use in the UK.

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