Kelly Merritt, a correspondent for the Naples (Fla) Daily News, reports that tanning customers aren’t happy about helping foot the bill for public health care. Yet, the AAD supports shifting the proposed 5% federal tax from cosmetic procedures to the tanning industry and the underlying tanning bed and supporting industries. POLL: Potential tanning tax develops concern in the industry:
Supporters of the tax have called it a sin tax that will help stigmatize tanning beds for consumers.
But Indoor Tanning Association representatives say the benefits of moderate exposure to ultraviolet light, including its stimulation of the body’s production of vitamin D, shouldn’t be discounted.
The tanning tax is in lieu of a previous 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic procedures like Botox, now infamously referred to as the “Bo-tax.”
That section of the proposed health-care bill caved under pressure from lobbyist groups that included members of the medical industry. The New York Times reported one such example, StopCosmeticTax.org, which was financed in part by Allergan, maker of Botox.
Dr. David M. Pariser, president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), said his association proposed consideration of the indoor-tanning tax instead of the cosmetic tax. Representatives from the AAD contacted senators with the message that reducing skin cancer in the future would reduce health-care costs.
Pariser added that the tanning tax would “raise a little revenue now.”
The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation predicts the tax will raise $2.7 billion over the next decade.
Opponents of the cosmetic tax lobbied that it discriminated against women, who receive the majority of cosmetic surgery and anti-aging injections.
But that argument doesn’t carry much water with customers or tanning salon owners.
About 80 percent of all cosmetic procedures are performed on Caucasian women, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, about the same number of women who tan indoors regularly.
They will bear most of the financial burden of the tanning tax, which to members of the tanning industry is just as discriminatory as the cosmetic procedure tax would have been.
“The cosmetic surgery industry has a much stronger lobby than we do, and Congress does not serve the weak — it serves the mighty,” Toepfer said. “All of the money they’ll collect wouldn’t even pay the congressional airline bill. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were going to use the money wisely, but the government is just going to squander it like they always do.”
The tanning tax will apply to services performed on or after July 1, 2010, and the amendment specifically defines indoor tanning as a “service employing any electronic product designed to incorporate one or more ultraviolet lamps intended for the irradiation of an individual by ultraviolet radiation.”
But the tanning tax excludes ultraviolet treatment, also known as phototherapy, performed by licensed medical professionals for use in treating skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. This facet of the bill has tanning industry professionals scratching their heads.
Read it here. In a response to this article, ebernays writes:
News reports earlier this year stated that “…international cancer experts have moved tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet radiation into the top cancer risk category, deeming them as deadly as arsenic and mustard gas.”
Indoor tanning before age 30 has been associated with a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, according to a review of medical literature last summer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.
This tax, like taxes that have been put on tobacco and alcohol, will hopefully decrease usage of indoor tanning beds and thus reduce skin cancer.
And, what is a 10% tax. If a tanning session costs $10, that means a tax of $1. Is this really a budget buster for tanning salon owners and users?