Over 2.5 lakh British teenagers are at high risk of developing malignant skin cancer due to the use of tanning beds, a new research claimed today.

According to a report published in British Medical Journal (BMJ), “A quarter of a million children in England aged 11 to 17 face a higher risk of developing melanoma -- the most lethal form of skin cancer -- by using tanning beds“.

Researchers Catherine Thomson from Cancer Research, UK, and Professor Chris Twelves from St James’s University Hospital in Leeds also called for urgent legislation to stop sun-bed use by minors in England.

The risk of melanoma increases by 75 per cent when use of tanning devices starts before the age of 30.

Current rates of use in England would lead to more than an estimated 250,000 children being put at risk of developing malignant melanoma, the authors said.

“National legislation to limit access to sun-bed salons to those over 18, and close down unsupervised or coin operated salons, is required to stop more children being put at unnecessary risk,” they said.

Six per cent of English youngsters in the 11-to-17 age bracket use sun-beds, according to recent studies. The average age at which the practice starts is 14.

More In: Rx | Health