Today, July 1, 2010, the infamous “tanning tax” goes into effect. The 10% tax on UV tanning services was included in the Obama administration’s breakthrough national healthcare bill, passed in March, as a way to help pay for the costly legislation. Since it was proposed, the tanning tax has been very controversial. Proponents of the tax claim that it will discourage people from indoor tanning and eventually decrease the incidence of skin cancer. Other supporters believe it will encourage tanning salon owners to adapt their business models to shifting demand; the tanning industry has been in decline and offering more sunless tanning services could potentially help struggling businesses. Those who object to the legislation worry about its effects on already struggling small business owners; others believe that this gives government too much influence on individual behavior.
It’s too soon to know what the long-term effects of the tanning tax will be, but we’re curious to know what you think. Do you think the government has the right to tax indoor tanning services? How do you think tanning salon owners will be affected? Will this discourage people from indoor tanning, or just cause them to spend more money on this dangerous habit – or just tan outdoors?