The International Agency for Research on Cancer Determines Tanning Beds Are As Carcinogenic as Cigarettes

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Sunbeds pose a similar cancer risk as cigarettes and asbestos, according to an international cancer research agency.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had previously classified sunbeds as being a "probable" cause of cancer.

However, the agency is now recommending that tanning machines should be moved to "the highest cancer risk category" and be labeled as "carcinogenic to humans".

It followed a review of research which concluded that the risk of melanoma -- the most deadly form of skin cancer -- was increased by 75 per cent in people who started using sunbeds regularly before the age of 30.

Analysis concluded that the risk of skin melanoma is increased by 75 percent when use of tanning devices starts before 30 years of age.”

— Dr Fatiha El Ghissassi, WHO oncologist