June 2, 2010
By Lori Tipton
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A federal tax on tanning beds has many tanning salon owners seeing red, but some doctors say the tax could save lives.
Effective July 1, a federal 10 percent tax will be tacked on to indoor tanning. The tax is meant to help fund the $940 billion health care overhaul.
As the owner of a small business, Michelle Novy is an entrepreneur. She purchased the Run to the Sun tanning salon in 2006 and has worked hard to build up the business.
"Since then I've grown the business substantially in my retail area, learned a lot about tanning," said Novy.
With a new tax on tanning going into effect soon, salon owners like Novy are debating what to do.
Novy says she's confident her business will do okay, but doesn't think that will be the case for smaller salons.
"The tanning salons that focus only on tanning without the spray tanning, they're the ones that are going to have some difficulties," she said.
Not everyone sees the tax on tanning beds as a negative.
"It's one of the few taxes that I actually approve of… If it decreases the number of people from tanning, I think it's a good thing," said dermatologist Dr. Thomas Senter.
Senter says the leading cause of death in the U.S. among young women ages 25 to 29 is malignant melanoma
"It is directly, I think, related to UV exposure… And I have seen it over and over again; these were young ladies who tanned heavily, very dark and they get these little jet black moles," Senter said.
Tanning salons claim tanning inside is a good way to get vitamin D.
"I think the tanning salons are taking a little bit of truth and stretching it out," Senter said. "Yes, you can get vitamin D from a tanning bed and yes, you can treat your depression with a whiskey bottle, but are the side effects worth it?"
The important thing to remember with tanning beds is to not over indulge.
"I believe that irresponsible tanning is not good, overdoing it is not good and that goes with almost everything in life, but I believe tanning is healthy. That's my belief and that's because nothing can live without sunshine," Novy said.
Contact Lori Tipton at ltipton@KTUU.com.
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