Posted on July 8, 2010

Some Customers Heated Over Indoor ‘Tan Tax,’ Which Was Part of Health-Care Law

N.C. Aizenman, Washington Post, July 8, 2010


One of the less-publicized measures in the new health-care law, the tax imposes a 10 percent surcharge on the use of ultraviolet indoor tanning beds.

Supporters–including the Obama administration, congressional Democrats and dermatologists–have argued that the tax will raise an estimated $2.7 billion toward the cost of expanding health coverage to the uninsured, while discouraging a practice that increases the risk of skin cancer by as much as threefold in frequent users, according to scientific research.

But outraged owners of tanning salons worry that the levy could deal a death blow to an industry already reeling from the recession.

“In 26 years of business, this is the worst I’ve seen it,” said Scott Shortnacy, owner of the Arlington Solar Planet as well as six other branches in the Washington area. “{snip} Our sales are down 20 to 30 percent.”


Even the Arlington salon, Shortnacy’s most successful location because of its proximity to sun-deprived Pentagon workers and Northern Virginia mall shoppers, is suffering. Appointments have dropped from 300 per day, to about 160.