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Information Failure: Solariums

Geoff Riley

16th April 2008

I dont usually listen to Women's Hour, but during a lazy morning just before the start of our summer term, I latched onto a really interesting discussion about the dangers inherent in using sun beds and other solarium machines - not least from younger people whose skin is not yet mature enough to cope with intensive sun-showering. I was alerted to this issue last week with this article on the BBC news website about a 13-year-old boy who suffered severe burn blisters to his face after visiting a tanning salon three times in just one day. We can expect teenagers not to understand fully the dangers of AV tanning treatments but the problem is more widespread than that. Indeed, earlier on this month, Cancer Research released a report warning of the risks - this BBC news video might be a good resource to use if you are teaching the topic of information failure in a market. Should the industry be left to regulate itself or is there a case for government intervention e.g. enforcing a minimum age of 18 or 21 for using sun bed machines? The discussion might be broadened into looking at why people are willing to pay for such services and the availability of substitutes.

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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