Sunbeds and cigarette machines will be targeted as part of the latest assault on cancer rates in the UK, ministers will announce tomorrow.

Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Health, will signal a review of the rules governing the use of coin-operated sunbeds, particularly by children and young adults, amid fears that the tanning industry is contributing to high rates of skin cancer.

The World Health Organisation and the European Union have both recently ruled that would-be customers aged under 18 should be banned from tanning parlours to protect them from over-exposure.

Department of Health officials have confirmed that the NHS Cancer Reform Strategy, to be unveiled by Mr Johnson, will "open up the debate about whether we need more regulation of sunbed use in the UK".

A spokesman for the department said: "To do this, we plan a review of the use and number of sunbeds, including how many coin-operated sunbeds there are and where they are. We also need to find out the extent of sunbed use by under-18s."

The Government is also planning to review regulations on the use of cosmetic tanning salons particularly unstaffed establishments which present "risks of excessive exposure by children and young people".

The blueprint will also lay out proposals for stepping up the attack on smoking, the greatest preventable cause of cancer, by imposing tougher restrictions on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco.

Mr Johnson will launch a consultation on the prospect of banning the sale of tobacco in vending machines and reducing cigarette displays in shops.

Officials claim the strategy, which builds on the NHS Cancer Plan launched in 2000, will also aim to provide better access to treatment for cancer patients. The Government plans to improve access to radiotherapy and invest 130m in equipment and staff over the next three years.

"Cancer is a major health problem," the spokesman added. "One in three of the population will develop cancer and one in four will die from it, making it the joint number-one killer, alongside heart disease. We have made good progress on treatments and technology since the publication of the plan, but we still have major challenges ahead."

But the Tories seized on the new announcements as evidence that the Government has failed in its pledge to make Britain's cancer services the best in Europe. Ahead of ministers' updated cancer reform strategy, shadow health minister Mark Simmonds said cancer survival rates in the UK still lag far behind nearly every other European country.

He added: "Gordon Brown and Alan Johnson have been forced to admit their failure to achieve the best cancer survival rates in Europe, despite the huge amount of money they've spent on trying. What is saddening is that if the UK achieved European-best levels of cancer survival rates, then 95 lives each day could be saved. The Government has had seven years to implement its cancer strategy but it has not delivered.

"It has failed on early identification and diagnosis of cancer. Not enough has been done to prevent the disease, and the Government's plundering of public health budgets has restricted prevention even further."

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