View Full Version : New indoor tanning tax unfair, salons say

07-06-2010, 12:15 PM
New indoor tanning tax unfair, salons say

It's meant to help pay for health-care reform and deter skin cancer.

By KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Published: 7/2/2010 2:22 AM
Last Modified: 7/2/2010 4:49 AM

The nation's indoor tanning industry was unfairly targeted when Congress imposed a 10 percent tax on its services as a way to help pay for the federal health-care reform bill, several Tulsa-area tanning salon owners say.

The tax went into effect Thursday and is expected to raise $2.7 billion toward a $940 billion health-care overhaul.

At first, the tax was aimed at the cosmetic surgery industry. But it was transformed at the last minute into what is known as the "tanning tax" in an effort to prevent skin cancer.

Tabetha Folds, who owns Second Sun Tanning Salon, 4715 E. 11th St., said the last-minute decision to tax tanning salons was "a random choice" because her industry wouldn't put up as big a fight as other groups. She pointed out that fast-food restaurants pose a more immediate risk to health.

"What about those $1 menus?" she asked. "A person can get those fatty foods faster and cheaper. High cholesterol and obesity are a major problem."

Peggy Hague, who co-owns Totally Tan, 8226 S. Lewis Ave., said the levy is discriminatory against women. She and her husband, Joe Hague, also have a Broken Arrow location.

"It's very discriminatory," she said. "The largest percentage of tanning salons are owned by women. Women are the largest percentage of customers, and most are white women. So now you are discriminating against white women."

Hague said the industry is going to fight to get the tax repealed through its national group, the Indoor Tanning Association.

Lawmakers overlooked the positive health effects of indoor tanning, such as increasing vitamin D exposure, tanning salon owners said.

"Vitamin D deficiency has become a recognized epidemic in North America," Folds said.

Research suggests that low levels of Vitamin D, which is a hormone, are associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children and cancer.

But the American Academy of Dermatology said people should get Vitamin D through a healthy diet, noting that indoor tanning is associated with a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

I can't see how this isn't blatant racial discrimination. Although I have zero interest (or ability) in tanning, this is a service that a lot of people like and all of those people are white. I'm surprised that the AAD would claim that diet is enough for vitamin D production. That's flat out factually incorrect. To get the level of vitamin D that occurs naturally after 20 minutes of summer sun, you would have to use a prescription vitamin D source.

Tulsa World (http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=17&articleid=20100702_17_A11_MarkWi149942)

Wei Wu Wei
07-07-2010, 03:22 PM
So you are suggesting that policy directed at a commodity or activity that is used disproportionately by one race is a racially discriminatory policy? hmmm

07-07-2010, 03:51 PM
So you are suggesting that policy directed at a commodity or activity that is used disproportionately by one race is a racially discriminatory policy? hmmm

No, I'm saying that a taxation policy directed at a genetic group is discriminatory. If hair straightening chemicals were taxed because overuse caused an illness, that would be equally wrong even though use of hair straighteners occurs across racial lines.

Mostly, I'm always concerned when taxes, social engineering, and public policy join up together. The law of unintended consequences has a way of kicking in and making a minor bad situation into a really bad situation.

Wei Wu Wei
07-07-2010, 05:56 PM
What's a genetic group? I'm sorry you said this was blatent racial discrimination, a category that's fuzzy enough. You mean people with certain genetic markers? Baldness perhaps? If Rogain caused illness would a tax on it be discriminatory?

People with certain genetic predispositions (even if they don't develop the disorders) to schizophrenia or parkinsons-resistance tend to smoke cigarettes more often.

People with certain genetic markers that lead to differences in alcohol metabolism enzymes get real sick real fast if they drink beer. Are alcohol taxes discriminatory?