Tanning tax

By Tiffany Blackmon - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) –  Healthcare reform could impact areas you might not expect, like tanning beds. Effective on July 1, 2010, that industry could get burned thanks to a 10% tax meant to discourage the use of ultraviolet lights,  which have been linked to skin cancer.

"All winter long you're all covered up and no one [can] see how white you are until you're in tank tops and shorts," said tanning customer Lindsey Kjerulff.

Kjerulff uses ultraviolet tanning beds like many others looking to get tan, despite the health risk like skin cancer, and that's something the government is taking seriously.

"I really don't care for it, but it's coming so I'm going to have to adapt and overcome it," said Robin Williams, owner of The Ultimate Experience Tanning and Hair Salon.

Williams knows the government's 10% tax will impact her salon, but she doesn't want her customers to feel the effects.

"Customer service first, and let the 10% tax fall on me," she said.

Williams believes that when used in moderation, the use of ultraviolet beds is safe.

"If you're jumping from tanning salon, to tanning salon, to tanning salon, trying to get a 20 minute tan here, a 20 minute tan there, then going out in the sun...not so good, but anything in moderation, I don't see how it could be that harmful," Williams said.

There are alternative methods to tanning besides ultraviolet beds, like spray tanning booths, something the ultimate experience has thought about getting for quite some time.

Williams stated, "We're adding on so by next year I'm going to have one."

However, clients concerned about getting skin cancer isn't the reason behind adding a spray tanning booth.

Kjerulff responded to the question, "Ultraviolet beds, is that a concern to you, maybe causing cancer?"

"It's is, but I don't think I do it enough for it to be a concern," she said.

Williams stated, "People are still going to tan. I'm just going to take care of it, and take care of business as usual."

The Ultimate Experience doesn't plan to make any changes in their business until they see how the tax effects them in it's first year.

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