Sorry, Snooki: Indoor Tanning Tax Takes Effect

Opponents claim the new tax on indoor tanning, intended to help pay for the health-care reform law, unfairly punishes small businesses.

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Burning up: Salon owners are voicing their objection to a new tax on indoor tanning.That fake bake just got a little pricier. Indoor tanning customers must now pay an extra 10 percent, thanks to a measure in the health-care reform law that took effect Thursday.

The tax, which the Obama administration says will raise approximately $270 billion by 2020 and help foot the bill for health-care reform, is supported by health advocates, who claim it could decrease indoor tanning. Opponents contend that it will unfairly punish tanning salon owners -- many of them small businesses -- and do not believe there is a correlation between indoor tanning and cancer.

"I think it's ridiculous," said Richard Beauchemin, who has owned the Sun Spot tanning salon in Carson City, Nev., with his wife Leslie for two and a half years. "I don't feel that melanoma is caused by indoor tanning beds. It's caused by the sun. You spend hours in the sun. You only spend minutes in the bed."

Beauchemin, 51, said he is not sure how dramatic losses will be, but expects his business will take a hit. Right now, business is already down because of the recession.

Opponents add that the government has not properly alerted tanning salon owners about the change. The Internal Revenue Service has not issued warnings about the tax, according to Rep. David Camp (R- Mich.). Beauchemin said no government agency had contacted his business about the tax increase.

But supporters of the bill argue that it will act as tobacco taxes have -- taxing an unhealthy habit for a good cause. People younger than 35 who tan regularly are 75 percent more likely to get melanoma cancer, according to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, which recommends banning minors from indoor tanning.

The Indoor Tanning Association counters that studies about indoor tanning safety are inconsistent and contradictory. The association points to findings by the MD Anderson Cancer Center as one example that concludes UVA light, the ultraviolet light used for tanning, does not cause melanoma.

Tags: franchises, health-care reform, indoor tanning franchises, indoor tanning tax, News, small-business taxes, tan tax, tanning salon, tax on tanning, taxes

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