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Plastic surgery ads should be banned says cosmetic surgeons association

LONDON - The trade body for British cosmetic surgeons has called for a UK ban on advertising by the industry citing the lack of regulation and increasing commoditisation of the sector as a danger to consumers.

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Nigel Mercer, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, told The Independent that potential profits had drawn in growing numbers of medical practitioners to the sector over the past decade. Cosmetic surgery in the UK is unregulated.

Mercer criticised the commercialisation of cosmetic surgery and cited the massive increase in amount of marketing. He said: "This includes discount vouchers, two-for-one holidays offers and holidays with surgery.

"In no other area of medicine is there such a mess. What is worse is that national governments would not allow it to happen in other areas of medicine. Imagine a two-for-one advert for general surgery. That way lies madness."

Baaps' 200 members performed over 34,000 operations last year, a 100% rise on 2004, with 90% of them on women. Breast enlargement was the most popular procedure with 8,449 operations, a 30% rise on 2007.

However in its editorial The Independent accused Mercer of self-interest pointing out he only represents qualified plastic surgeons. This group is facing competition from medical practitioners who do not have those qualifications.

The UK's policy regarding cosmetic surgery contrasts sharply with that in France where advertising is banned and only qualified practitioners are allowed to work in the sector. 

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