A lot of tanning salon owners are hot over a nationwide 10 percent tax on tanning-related services that is part of the new health care reform bill. The tax is slated to take effect in July.
The health care reform bill is more than 2,700 pages of surprises. Tanning salon operators probably won't be the last taxpayers to shake their fists in surprised fury at what's in the new law. Nevertheless, this is one taxing surprise we can live with. Adding a 10 percent charge to a tan may cause a lot of teens and young adults to think twice about burning their bodies under artificial light. Given the health risks with tanning, that's a good thing.
The feds think the tax will bring in close to $3 billion over 10 years. The tanning tax was added at the last minute to the new law. It was a clumsy political deal hatched after lawmakers chickened out on adding a tax on Botox.
We guess plastic surgery has a bigger lobbying presence in Washington D.C. than tanning salons?
Despite the folly of the tanning tax's creation and even if the tally falls far short of that figure, a health-related tax on tanning will help put a health stigma on tanning that is desperately needed.
Teens and young adults who use tanning machines on a regular basis have a far greater risk of getting cancer. Melanoma rates have gone up dramatically the past generation or two along with the popularity of tanning beds. It's a risky habit to tan, no matter what the tanning industry says.
The Utah Legislature already passed a sound law that requires parents to have a say as to whether their children use tanning salons. We sincerely hope that the few dollars more it will cost for young people to burn themselves in a desire to look more "attractive" will prevent some serious health problems for many in the future.