Healthcare: Cancer Research UK in sunbed warning

A major PR campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of sunbeds among young people has been launched by Cancer Research UK.

The initiative, which kicked off on 15 March, comes ahead of new Government legislation in England and Wales to ban anyone under the age of 18 from using sunbeds.

The campaign, aimed at 15- to 18-year-olds, is the latest development in Cancer Research UK's 'Sunsmart' initiative, which has been running since 2003.

Created by digital agency Nonsense, it will feature fictional wannabe rapper 'Leatha Face', a teenage boy who believes his sunbed tan will set him apart from other rappers. Videos of Leatha Face will be posted on YouTube and Facebook, including one of his peers warning him about the health risks of sunbed use.

Research suggests that the UVA produced by sunbeds damages the skin and there is increasing evidence that it can cause skin cancer.

Sunbed users under the age of 35 have a 75 per cent higher risk of developing malignant melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.

Caroline Cerny, health campaigns manager at Cancer Research UK, said: 'We know the majority of this audience are aware of some of the health risks of sunbed use, but put the concerns to the back of their minds. By creating an engaging video we hope to influence the attitudes of young sunbed users and show them that it's not just heavy sunbed users who are risking their health and their looks.'

The initiative is the first major Cancer Research UK campaign by Nonsense following a pitch win and appointment to the charity's agency roster in September 2010.

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