The Jersey Shore Is Now 10% More Expensive: Tanning Bed Tax Takes Effect

A 10 percent tax on tanning bed services took effect July 1 to the dismay of orange-skinned indoor bronzing devotees. Salon owners and workers are also upset by the new tax, worrying their businesses will suffer and jobs may be lost. That’s in addition to proposed regulations which are still under consideration.

Don't worry, Snooki already has a new fake tanning method to promote

The tanning bed tax is expected to bring in $2.7 billion over the next decade to help fund increased health care coverage. According to the World Health Organization, tanning beds are a proven cause of cancer. Dermatologists used evidence that indoor tanning is unhealthy, especially in young people, to persuade congress to tax the service rather than cosmetic surgery. Also proposed in some states, notably New York, was a tax on soda, another proven health risk. Cigarettes already carry a tax, with New York City’s combined federal, city and recently increased state tax totaling $6.85 and registering as the highest in the nation. {The Boston Globe, The New York Times}

The potential for job losses is the only obvious downside to the new tanning services tax. Perhaps the added cost to using tanning beds will discourage people from continuing the unhealthy habit. The tax is also quite logical, as cigarettes are also a known cause of cancer that carry a tax. However, little evidence exists as to whether the increased cost cuts down on smoking. The new tanning bed tax is also in line with the recent national health care overhaul’s goal of focusing on preventative services.

The Jersey Shore’s Snooki, an unofficial spokeswoman for tanning bed advocacy, is not too pleased.

“I don’t go tanning anymore because Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning,” she said. “He did that because of us. McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning. Because he’s pale and he’d probably want to be tan.” {Second City Style}

Snooki said she switched to spray tanning to avoid the tax, perhaps unintentionally proving the law effective in other ways than simply producing revenue. If she is any indication of the average tanner, it looks like the tax could in fact reduce the use of tanning beds.

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