People who started to use sunbeds before turning 35 have increased their risk of developing malignant melanoma by 75%, according to research.
The vast majority of sunbed users (82%) first used the devices before they were 35, according to a survey of 4,000 people by Cancer Research UK.
And according to findings by the International Agency for Research into Cancer (IARC), people who began using sunbeds under this age increase their risk of malignant melanoma by 75%.
As a result of the survey, Cancer Research UK has launched its SunSmart campaign warning sunbed users that overexposure can prove as dangerous as staying out too long in sun.
It is commonly thought that sunbeds have had "harmful rays removed" or that sunbeds are "a safe way to tan" but in fact the intensity of some UV rays from sunbeds can be 10-15 times higher than that of the midday sun.
And repeated exposure to UV damages the DNA in skin cells, increasing the risk of skin cancer and ageing skin quicker.
Malignant melanoma is the most common cancer in people aged between 15 and 34 and can prove fatal. More women are diagnosed with melanoma but more men die from the disease. Nearly 9,000 cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed each year in the UK with more than 1800 dying from the disease annually.
"Yes I do think sunbeds should be restricted or even completely got rid of. I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma 18 months ago and although I am in remission I know that there is a very high chance of this disease returning as not only did I use sunbeds at a young age, but I also have all the other risk factors: fair skin, blue eyes, freckles, burn easily in the sun etc. I try at every opportunity to highlight the dangers of sunbed use and sun protection, especially with young children. This is a serious disease and again one that can be limited with being sensible." - Vanessa Maclean, Edinburgh
"Indeed it should. I have two friends who are dying of malignant melanoma. Sunbeds should be banned in my view. They serve no purpose. I am so passionate about this, I am working alongside the Christie hospital now in order to make a difference: www.factor50.org.uk" - Gillian Nuttall, Oldham