Tanning customers see red - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tanning customers see red

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  A provision in the federal health care law has some tanning salons and customers feeling burned. The so-called tanning tax took effect today. It puts a 10% sales tax on tanning. It's expected to generate 2.7 billion dollars over ten years.

In that sweeping health care bill, there's a tiny provisions that not many knew about. It kicked in today, catching many tanning customers off guard, but salons are forced to charge this lifestyle tax, and if you want to tan indoors you'll have to pay.

That beautiful bronze will cost you more. At Tropical Sun Tanning on Old Dawson Road already customers are crying foul over the extra 10% they'll shell out for some color.

"They're not happy with it, we've had a lot of cancellations due to it," said Tropical Sun Tanning Manager Angela Gilliard, who said that 80% of her customers are women.

Mert Young typically spends time under the lamps once or twice a week, but will scale that back with the hit to her wallet. "I probably will, matter of fact I know I will."

Businesses say while sunshine can't be taxed, the tax to their light source will cost them business.

"The small business owners like we are here it's definitely going to hurt our business," Gilliard said.

Customers have already started canceling, nearly half of the bookings today. There are some ways around it. Spray tans aren't taxed, and those who tan for medical reasons won't be taxed.

said Southwest Georgia Health District Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant.

Salon owners say those who tan know the associated risks but choose to do it anyway. It's left those who just enjoy the time and get away it creates burning mad.

"It's just relaxing to have somewhere to come and it's you don't have to be bothered I just really enjoy coming here," Kelly Tucker said.

"I just don't think it's fair I really don't," Young said.

While advocates hope this may keep some out of the sun while putting funding toward health care reform, die hard tanners say they'll continue to tan despite the cost.

A new public service campaign is also aimed at young women. Doctors say the deadliest skin cancer melanoma is up sharply in women under 30.

The measure was added to the health care bill after lawmakers removed the "Botax" on elective cosmetic procedures, such as Botox and breast implants.


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