New indoor tanning tax goes into effect: tanners don't deter

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If you're among the 30 million Americans who use indoor tanning beds to get that summer glow, the government wants to tax you. The tax was originally meant to provide additional funds for health care reform, but now lawmakers say that imposing a tax will discourage people from indoor tanning, therefore decreasing their risk of catching melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

Some 2.3 million teenagers use indoor tanning beds, and their risk of catching melanoma is greater. Researchers found that indoor tanners below the age of 35 increase their chance of catching melanoma by 75%. Tanning booths emit both UVB rays for burning and UVA rays for tanning. Both rays can be 10 times stronger than the sun, posing serious risk to skin damage. Doctors are diagnosing more young women with skin cancer who started using tanning beds in their teens.

There are 32 states that restrict indoor tanning for teens, and require parental permission in person. New York state is considering banning indoor tanning for minors under the age of 18. The tanning industry argues that indoor tanning beds are safe when used in moderation.

Indoor tanning currently cost around $17 per visit. With the additional 10% tax, customers will pay $1.70 extra. It's unclear whether the new tax will steer tanners away from the salons. If the tan tax is imposed, the government estimates $2.7 billion in revenues over 10 years.

For more information about tanning beds, see what the numbers mean.



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