Government officials in the UK are considering banning people under the age of 18 from tanning salons in an effort to protect their health. Authorities are concerned that the sunbeds may be particularly harmful to youth as their skin and eyes are still developing, reports The Press Association.

According to Health Minister Edwina Hart, more and more children and adolescents have been visiting tanning salons since the 1980s.

“This is worrying because young skin is particularly vulnerable and a compounding issue is that the young are also highly influenced by media images that constantly portray tan as healthy and desirable,” she told the news source.

Hart added that there have been several incidents in the past 18 months in which children had been harmed while visiting unsupervised tanning salons and using the coin-operated tanning beds.

The new laws would require tanning salons to be supervised at all times. Additionally, the salons would have to provide their adult visitors with health information and protective eyewear.

If passed, the new laws would go into effect in October 2011.

According to the American Optometric Association, UV radiation can have a major impact on one’s vision. The organization recommends that all sunglasses screen out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. All sunglasses screen out both UV-A and UV-B rays for full protection from the sun.