Federal tax on UV tanning booths starts Thursday

Federal tax on UV tanning booths starts Thursday

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by Joe Smith, KGW staff

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kgw.com

Posted on June 30, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 30 at 9:05 PM

PORTLAND --  Beginning Thursday, a new federal tax on indoor tanning goes in effect to help pay for health care reform. 

The new tax is on tanning booths using ultraviolet bulbs. It does not apply to spray tans or tanning products.

The  tax was a last minute addition to the Health Care Reform Bill and replaces a 5 percent tax on cosmetic surgery that was originally included in the bill.

Booth tanners are feeling more than burned getting their faux glow.

"I love the sun," said Marcia Dellvenari.  When she can't follow the sun, she heads to Sunset West Tanning in Beaverton, five days a week. "It helps my mood."

Dellvenari is seeing red over a new 10 percent federal tax she'll have to pay to help pay for the $940 billion health care overhaul.

"I think it is ridiculous," she said.

For salon co-owner Keith Dixon, the new tax could be just the thing that drives him out of business.

"We're barely making it in this economy, because that's one of the first things to go on your budget -- tanning or getting your nails done or whatever" he said.

Dixon lowered his prices so the tax would not be noticed by his clients.

"Our prices have stayed the same. But, that has also made us lose income" he said. 

Health care professionals like dermatologist Dr. Kristen Stevens hope the new tax is a wake up call.

"For most people who are really serious about tanning I don't think that's going to stop them," said the physician based at Providence hospital. " We need, as the public and as physicans, to help people understand the damage they're doing to their skin,"

Seventy percent of indoor tanners are young women, the same population that has the highest rate of melanoma.

"The World Health Organization recently declared ultra light coming from tanning booths as carcinogenic," Stevens said,  "placing it in the same category as asbestos, and plutonium and tobacco smoke."

She hopes adding the tax will change the way society looks at tanning. 

"Natural is the new tan," said Stevens.

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