The Scottish Government has issued a public warning to people to avoid wearing clothing that reflects the colour of the sun, in an attempt to curb the rising tide of sunburns.
The government said the move was “the first time we have had to act” and it would not be able to “continue indefinitely” without the “support of the community”.
It is urging people to wear sunscreen, hats and sunglasses at all times and to “avoid sun exposure”.
It has also launched a new initiative for people to report sunburn and is urging all people to follow the National Sun Protection Standard which covers all outdoor clothing, including sunblock.
The Scottish Government said that as a country we need to “put a stop to the trend of people wearing clothing in the colour blue which is associated with sunburn”.
Scottish Environment Secretary David Stewart said the change to the standard would allow the public to “learn more about the health risks associated with wearing clothing with the sunburn colour”.
He said: “Sunburn is the leading cause of skin cancer, and it is a serious condition that can lead to cancer in older people, people with lung cancer, people who have already had a sunburn or those with weakened immune systems.”
Mr Stewart said: “[The standard] will make it easier for the public and the health services to provide a more accurate picture of the health effects of clothing with a colour associated with sunlight.”
He said the Scottish Government had been working with the public on how best to address the issue and it was now working with other parts of the world to develop a similar approach.
He said a new National Sun Protectors Standards and Standards and Practices (NSPS) will be published “soon” and “provides the basis for the standard to be used in all UK-wide outdoor wear”.
Mr Stewart also announced a national campaign to raise awareness of the issue of sun exposure.
“The Scottish Sun Protection Standards and Practice (NSSP) will make a clear statement that sunburn is a very serious condition,” he said.
“It will also encourage people to be mindful of the risks associated.”
Mr Cameron said:”It is not just sun exposure that causes skin cancer and other cancers but also the sun itself can be a trigger of skin cancers, particularly melanoma.”
There are plenty of ways to protect yourself against sunburn, but the most important thing is to make sure you don’t get sunburn in the first place.
“We are working with all of the major outdoor clothing manufacturers to develop and make available products that are designed to reduce skin cancer risk.”
Scottish Prime Minister Alex Salmond said the government’s decision was a “game changer” and said it was a step towards a world where people were able to wear what they wanted.
He added: “I’m pleased that our partners, including the world’s leading outdoor clothing companies, have decided to join the National Standards and to work together to create a more transparent standard.”
This is a game changer, it is the first time that we have needed to act and we are committed to ensuring that we take action to address this issue.
“Mr Salmond added that the government would be looking at other areas where the sun could be a factor, including wearing protective clothing for babies, wearing protective gear in public and wearing sunscreen in outdoor conditions.
He urged the public “to remember that even a single sunburn can have a significant impact on someone’s health”.
Scottished Environment Minister Mr Stewart said a “very large amount” of people had been reporting that wearing sunscreen was helping them stay out of sun for a longer period of time.
He told the BBC: “A lot of people are not wearing sunscreen, and we’re looking at a lot of things to help people get in and out of the sunshine.”
The Scottish Conservatives said the new standard was “totally out of step” with the “national climate change action plan” that was unveiled in December.
The party’s leader, Murdo Fraser, said: ‘This Government’s approach is not working, and there are other countries that have adopted this policy and have reduced their CO2 emissions.’
The Scottish Greens said the decision would not only “send a signal to all Scottish people that it’s OK to be outdoors and that we are not going to let people get sunburnt”, but that it would also put people off wearing sunblock in the future.
Scottish Greens leader Murdo Stuart Fraser said:’This Government is not listening to the public, its acting on the national climate change agenda and not listening in the way that the Scottish people would expect.’
He added that wearing a hat and sunglasses was the “safest way to protect your skin” and the Scottish Greens will continue to call for a ban on hats and shades.
Scottished Greens leader Scottish Greens co-leader Murdo Scott said: ”The Scottish government is taking the wrong approach to sun protection and is not helping people