Let’s Talk Some More About That Tan Tax

So the tan tax is supposed to go into effect Thursday, July 1. With salon owners and other business interests in the tanning industry, this tanning tax is a big deal.

Well, for starters the tax is 10%!

Consumers are really going to be cutting down on luxury items in this economic climate. Having increased tanning costs is not going to help things for small business owners in the industry. There will be consumers still willing to pay for their tanning…and there will be consumers who won’t. What this means is business is going to be hurt for most indoor tanning salon owners.

Now we come to the point in the story where we get down on our knees, spread out our arms, and shout to the sky, “Why?!”

Well, there is a rationale behind the tan tax, but then we will talk about why this rationale is shaky at best.

The tanning tax is being enacted to help pay for the massive  health care reform package that the Obama Administration is working on to be implemented in March.

We covered all of this in our previous post, as well as the fact that this tax was pushed through by the medical and dermatological interest groups in Washington to substitute for the “Botax” that they were so threatened by, the tax on cosmetic surgeries.

So what I want to get into is the big picture.

First off, the rationale. Why is the tanning industry being targeted? What are the underlying motives in Washington?

To help pay for this health care package, the Obama Administration is going to need a large source of income, preferably, income that isn’t going to hurt the needy and cause problems somewhere else, thereby negating the desired positive effects of the health care reform.

The “Botax” was their first idea. Tax expensive, unnecessary operations such as Botox injections and other cosmetic surgeries undertaken by the wealthier classes, who can afford the tax anyway.

But then, the medical and dermatological interest groups (the groups to be hurt by this “Botax”), with all of their money and connections and lobbyists, made a big fuss in Washington and managed to get together a tan tax to be enacted that will tax salon owners on the grounds that the UV-based tanning booths raise skin cancer risks.

Now their rationale was this: we pay billions of dollars a year for skin cancer treatment, mainly melanoma-based. They alleged that tanning booths raised the risk of melanoma for indoor tanners.

So…make the indoor tanning salons pay for the damage they wrought! Problem solved.

Well, the problem isn’t solved, because this rationale sucks. Skin cancer statistics are based on a host of variable factors: ozone layer conditions, instances of overexposure, doctor diagnostic practices, and more. So blaming the tanning industry for increased risk of skin cancer is essentially scapegoating.

Only when you are overexposed to UV rays (sunburn) do you have an increased risk of skin cancer. This can happen anywhere you are exposed to UV rays.

Not only that, but having higher amounts of melanin in your skin (this can be seen visibly with tans and darker skin colors) decreases your chances of overexposure and decreases the risks of skin cancer. Getting higher doses of Vitamin D (which is done by being exposed to UV light) also decreases risks of certain cancers and improves your immune system and overall state of health.

The tanning industry often talks about “Smart Tanning”, or tanning without the risk of overexposure. In partaking in smart tanning, you are stimulating the production of melanin in your skin and Vitamin D in your body. With more melanin present in your skin, you are less likely to burn under the sun, so your risks for skin cancer will be going down.

With the right regulations and guidance, frequenting an indoor tanning salon is good for your health, and will protect you from the very dangers all of the Anti-Sun interest groups are flapping about.  

In fact, even dermatologists use indoor tanning beds for certain treatments for their patients, and they happen to be exempt from the Tan Tax. Interesting, wouldn’t you say?

What it all comes down to is you, the tanning salon owner versus the medical/dermatological interests, which leads me to my main and final point. Yes, all of this hot air I am blowing does have a point.

If you want your indoor tanning salon to flourish, you have to look out for your own business interests. With the help of the Indoor Tanning Association, salon owners everywhere are joining forces in the hopes of repealing this tax.  

Salon owners are writing to their Senators and Representatives and the ITA is employing their own lobbyists in the hopes of combating the unfair Tan Tax. The overall intention of this movement is to show the face of the tanning industry to Congress and demonstrate to them that they are hurting hard-working business owners.

In doing so, chances are good that the lawmakers will give the tanning industry a break.

You can visit the ITA website for information on how to help.

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