London, July 29 (ANI): World health chiefs have warned that sunbeds are as serious a cancer threat as smoking and drinking.
The scientists - in a special report published in the Lancet - have moved sunbeds up to risk group 1 - classifying their use as officially carcinogenic to humans.
Scientists are so concerned they have put sunbeds and sunlamps on the list of the most dangerous cancer-causing products alongside alcohol and cigarettes.
The alarming World Health Organisation report found that using the powerful UV devices can increase the chances of developing skin tumours by 75 percent.
The boffins also pinpointed that both UVA and UVB rays could cause tumours, reports Sky News.
"The use of UV-emitting tanning devices is widespread in many developed countries, especially among young women," the authors wrote.
"A comprehensive meta-analysis concluded that the risk of skin melanoma is increased by 75 percent when use of tanning devices starts before 30 years of age," they added.
Sky News health correspondent Thomas Moore said: "The UV rays from sunbeds can be 10 to 15 times stronger than the midday sun. And when the tan fades, you still face lifelong skin damage.
"Cancer Research UK warns that using a sunbed just once a month can increase the risk of skin cancer by more than half.
"In fact the charity wants a ban on under-18s using sunbeds because their delicate skin puts them at even greater risk."
The Sunbed Association, however, disagrees with the claims.
"TSA would dispute the IARC classification that sunbeds are 'carcinogenic to humans'. The fact that seems to be continuously overlooked is that there is no proven link between the responsible use of sunbeds and skin cancer," a spokeswoman told Sky News Online.
The rep added: "The relationship between UV exposure and an increased risk of developing skin cancer is only likely to arise where over-exposure, ie burning, has taken place.
"Research has shown that over 80 percent of sunbed users are very knowledgeable about the risks associated with over-exposure to UV and the majority of sunbed users take 20 or less sunbed sessions a year." (ANI)