New law bans intimate piercings for under 18s in Wales

Intimate piercings are now banned for under 18s Credit: PA

Wales has become the first country in the UK to introduce a nationwide ban on intimate piercings for under 18s.

Under the new law it is now an offence to pierce the genitals, nipples or tongue of a child or a young person.

As young people continue to grow, a body piercing, including tongue piercings, can lead to complications. A study in England found a third of young people with body piercings had problems.

Under 18s are also less likely to know how to keep a new piercing clean leading to an increased risk of infection.

Local authority enforcement officers and police officers in Wales have received training ahead of the law coming into effect.

Intimate piercing practitioners in Wales are urged to have a “rigid system” in place to help them confirm proof of age and to obtain consent for each procedure, the Welsh government said.

The Public Health (Wales) Act received Royal Assent in July last year.

It covers a focus on obesity and protection from the harms of smoking, especially for children and young people, and requires retailers to be on a national register.

The law also covers protection from the risks of infection from procedures including body piercing, electrolysis, acupuncture and tattooing through a new licensing system.