New Tanning Tax

By Laura Ann Sills - email 

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - More than 30 million people tan indoors every year.  The government expects to generate almost three billion dollars over ten years by taxing each of them 10%.  This tax is part of the new Health Care law.

"To have the government come in and just non-discriminately give us another tax like this is just one more blow. It is one more thing hurting our American dream," said Carla Plazas.

Plazas owns New Life Tanning in Columbus and has been in the indoor tanning business for 10 years.  She has been following the Health Care legislation and she said this is just one more force working against her business.  "We have socio-cultural trends that are working against us and various studies saying tanning can be bad for you. And, there are risks associated with any human activity and that is why you have to do it in moderation," said Plazas.

Another force she may soon face - the FDA limiting teen's exposure to the beds.

Dr. Allan Halpern testified in front of the FDA today, asking for age limits on who can head under the lights.  "We are talking about something that is designed to deliver something that we know causes cancer. And, it is regulated the same way you would a band aid," explains Halpern.  Dr. Halpern is the Vice President of the Skin Cancer Foundation and he wants teens to be banned from tanning beds.

Tanning beds are currently considered class I medical devices.  If the FDA classifies the billion dollar industry differently, it may face the same regulations as cigarettes.

Plazas is very against this, "We are completely against the idea of somebody comparing us to something like smoking."

If the FDA does decide to regulate tanning beds, teens may have to wait till they are 18 years old to get an artificial tan.

For the health care law, tanning salons will have to start taxing July 1st, 2010.

Click here to find out more about how tanning supporters are trying to fight the plan, or visit

©2010 WTVM. All rights reserved.