Tanning tax starts today

POSTED: Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 6:01pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 11:38am

If you prefer to do your tanning indoors, it's going to cost more money. Today, a 10% federal tax on tanning went into effect.

In Baton Rouge that translates to $4 more per month for a salon membership or $1.50 more per session. The tax applies only to tanning beds, not sunless tanning such as spray tans.

The tax is part of President Obama's plan to fund healthcare reform. Just like raising the rates on cigarettes and alcohol, the administration hopes to make buyers think twice before making choices that could be bad for their health.

The U.V. rays in tanning beds are known to cause the deadliest form of skin cancer, Melanoma. Oncologist, Dr. Jay Brooks, says it doesn't take long to do damage, "30 minutes in a tanning bed is the equivalent of eight hours of sun exposure."

That intense exposure makes bronzing under bulbs, risky business. But some tanners think that's just not true.
Anna Naranto has been tanning regularly for four years. She's heard about the risks, but says "I feel like they wouldn't have anything in place that would be, you know, dangerous."

But Dr. Brooks disagrees. He has seen an increase in melanoma cases since the tanning trend began nearly 20 years ago. The disease targets young people and patients with widespread melanoma have less than a 10% chance of survival.

Even without the higher price tag, Planet Beach Spa Director, Rachel Zambito, says her customers are making the change to safer alternatives. "People are replacing laying in the bed for mystic tans everyday. People are coming to us, 'What can I do to change my membership?', 'What can I do not to lay in the beds?'"

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