Swedes warned off their sunbed habit

The Swedish love affair with sunbeds has been dealt a blow, with new guidance from the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSI) warning against all sunbed use.

Sunbeds are more popular in Sweden that in almost any other country in the world. According to SSI, ten percent of the world market for sunbed lights is in the Nordic countries.

Yet now Swedes wanting to soak up the rays and escape the Nordic chill are being asked to think twice. Previous official Swedish advice has been to avoid sunbeds if you are under 18 or have sensitive skin. Now the Swedish authority has released a report together with its counterparts in the other Nordic countries containing a general warning against all sunbed use.

According to the report, young people between the ages of 16 and 24 use sunbeds more than people in other age groups. They are also the group most at risk from UV radiation. The report said that the incidence of skin cancer in the Nordic countries had been increasing constantly for several decades.

Particular criticism was levelled at unmanned solaria. The report said that a solarium’s staff should have a good knowledge of the risks of sunbathing, and should inform customers of the dangers. There was no call for a ban on tanning shops, but the report’s authors said that a change of attitude to tanning was necessary.

Yet Magnus Frantzell of the Swedish Solarium Association said that a general warning against using sunbeds was the wrong way to tackle the problem.

“We think that it is better to concentrate on telling people how to sunbathe properly,” he said. “People should take account of their skin type and stick to the recommended time limits.”

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet, Svenska Dagbladet