Bo-tax out, Tan-tax in

Posted on December 29th, 2009 by Gina

The proposed 5% excise tax on cosmetic surgery and other vanity procedures was taken out of the Senate health care bill last week and replaced with a 10% excise tax on consumers of tanning salons.  The tanning industry is burning, of course.  Critics say it would only raise half the money of the so-called Bo-tax, and they are right.

[continued from newsletter]

Proceeds from procedures like facelifts and teeth-whitening would have generated $5 billion over the next 10 years, where the estimate for skin-frying will only be $2.7 billion.  Industry spokespeople say it is a tax against women, because they make up 75% of the consumers who use tanning beds.  The same argument was used against the Bo-tax.  They also argue that their industry is mostly small businesses already struggling in this self-sacrificing economy.  True; we’ll give them that point.

But here’s a big difference:  The World Health Organization recently “upgraded” tanning beds to a “Group 1 carcinogenic” category.  In terms of how your health is affected, that puts using tanning bulbs in the same category as smoking cigarettes or exposure to asbestos.  Scientists around the world are alarmed about the dramatic increase in skin cancer in young women, and research for WHO points to tanning salons.  WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported, “the risk of skin melanoma is increased by 75 percent when use of tanning devices starts before 30 years of age.”

So, taxing procedures that ruin the skin and kill us, is really better than taxing procedures that make us look and feel better, don’t you think?  You see – Congress is smarter than we give them credit for.  Sometimes, anyway.

One Comment on “Bo-tax out, Tan-tax in”

  1. Joe

    No, Gina, here’s the big difference: Botox has killed people (18 to date) in the US–while no one has ever died in a tanning bed.

Sassback - Leave a Reply

More Posts

A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.