Raleigh, N.C. — A tax for tanning? Beginning July 1, it's a reality.
Part of President Barack Obama's federal health care bill places a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning salon services that is projected to generate $2.7 billion to help fund the $940 billion health care overhaul.
The tax applies only to services that use artificial light sources, such as beds, lamps and booths. Spray tans are not affected.
Industry experts, however, say the tax will force an estimated 9,000 people out of jobs and put more than 1,000 salons at risk of closing.
"It's ridiculous, especially with the economy," said Deanna Harvell, who owns Electric Beach Tan on North Market Street in Raleigh. "I thought the government was supposed to be helping small businesses. This is not helping small businesses."
But Dr. Tom Andrus, a Raleigh dermatologist, says he has seen the damage tanning beds can cause and hopes the tax will deter people from using them.
"Anything that they can to do make it less attractive to their clients, I think, is worthwhile," Andrus said.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly 28 million people tan indoors in the United States each year, producing approximately $5 billion in revenue.
Customers, like Jeanne Hart, who's been a customer at Electric Beach Tan for three years, say they don’t plan to change their habits.
"That won't bother me, as far as the added expense, because it's something that I enjoy doing," Hart said.