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Federal tanning tax goes into effect July 1

Posted June 28, 2010

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— 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.

7 Comments

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  • ashoswald Jul 1, 1:00 p.m.

    News flash... indoor tanning is no worse than being outside in the sun! I work at a salon and we have doctors/dermatologists that tan.

  • dixieboy Jun 29, 3:32 p.m.

    Will tanning salon owners get a refund when Obamacare gets repealed?

  • rogers922 Jun 29, 12:52 p.m.

    Ah ha! And now it begins. It's OK to tax cigarettes because of the health problems associated with them....but don't tax a tanning bed...even though it causes skin cancer.....hello pot - hello kettle - can you say BLACK?

    Hey - all of you opened the door for this with the tobacco tax. Now the government is going to make sure you reap what you sowed.

  • cary1969 Jun 29, 10:39 a.m.

    white.. the people who use these look orange to me.

  • Fun Jun 29, 8:15 a.m.

    Uh, this tax is racist. Bet 99% of it is payed by white folk

  • dogman1973 Jun 29, 8:14 a.m.

    I find this tax racist! But coming from the "Great Unifier" Barack Hussein Obama's Administration, I am not surprised!

  • twc Jun 28, 7:44 p.m.

    What next? Maybe they'll walk along the beach with a little tin cup collecting taxes for sunbathing!