If anyone spots me entering a tanning salon this week, it's not because I've taken George Monbiot's comments to heart.
Soon after I was first elected I was visited by a local company which runs unstaffed tanning salons across the South West, who sought to reassure me that they weren't being misused by under-16s or so-called 'tanorexics'. They said they carried out spot checks and surveys of customers and - despite the fact that it's sometimes as cheap as £1 for a quick session - there was no evidence that the absence of staff on the premises was encouraging unsafe tanning. Unconvinced, I later signed an EDM put forward by my Labour colleague, Sian James, who has been campaigning on the issue for a couple of years now. Since then I've been meaning to check out the one just down the road from my office in Church Road, just to see how easy it would be for someone to overdo it.
Now the Guardian reports that a 13 year old boy in South Wales has suffered serious burns after spending a total of 21 minutes in a stand-up tanning booth while the salon was unstaffed. He suffered serious facial blisters, his wounds became infected, and he started vomiting. The salon's maximum tanning time is, in theory, 6 minutes but obviously if it's unstaffed, there's nothing to stop someone having several sessions on the trot.
You could argue that insisting on having staff to police use of the salons is another example of the nanny state, but it's the only way I can see of stopping children using them.