A recent MORI poll found despite evidence about health risks, nearly 70 per cent of people would still stay out in the midday sun. Research shows half the lifetime's exposure to direct sunlight comes before the age of 20. Exposure in children can lead to malignant melanoma in later life.
This fatal skin cancer is now the second most common cancer in women and the sixth in men in the 20-34 age group - causing nearly 2,000 deaths a year. Professor Gordon McVie, the Cancer Research Campaign's director general, said: "Unless attitudes change, skin cancer could overtake anorexia as the biggest new threat to our children in decades."