Health Care Reform’s Indoor Tanning Tax — One Year Later0

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, indoor tanning salon owners faced a new, 10 percent tax effective July 1, 2010.  Recently, bills in the House and Senate have been introduced to repeal this tax.

Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) introduced H.R. 2092 and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced S. 1278, identical bills designed to repeal the tax.  According to the Indoor Tanning Association President Dan Humiston:  “This tax has been a serious hardship on our industry.  Because the industry depends on consumers’ discretionary income, the recession and this tax have had a profound negative effect on our businesses.   In reality, this tax takes money out of the pockets of some of those least able to afford it: working women, who are not only customers but also make up a majority of our business owners; and college students, who are both customers and employees.”

One year later, however, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) strongly opposes any and all attempts to repeal the indoor tanning tax. According to dermatologist Ronald L. Moy, M.D., president of AAD: “The indoor tanning tax sends a clear message to Americans, especially young people, that tanning is a dangerous activity and that a tan is not a sign of good health. As the medical doctors who treat more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer in America every year, dermatologists are focused on increasing awareness of and protecting the public from the known skin cancer risks associated with UV radiation from indoor tanning.”   Dr. Moy continued: “The Academy is disappointed that the proposed repeal legislation ignores the serious public health impact of indoor tanning and the dramatic rise of skin cancer in young women,” said Dr. Moy.

Critics of indoor tanning contend it increases the risk of melanoma by 75 percent.  “The skin cancer risk inherent in tanning bed use cannot be ignored and similar to the tobacco tax, the indoor tanning tax appropriately reflects the cancer-causing effects of indoor tanning,” stated Dr. Moy. “It is the hope of the Academy that the current federal tax on this activity remains in place as a deterrent to this harmful behavior.”

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