Denver It’s prime season for tanning beds, when proms and spring beach vacations prompt young women to pack indoor salons in search of bronze skin to go with their new bikinis.
But business is slow this spring. Health warnings about the skin cancer risks of tanning beds, combined with consumers forgoing nonessentials in this recession, have the nation’s estimated 18,000 tanning salons on hard times. Now they’re bracing for another hit: A 10 percent tax on tanning bed use starts nationwide this July, part of the federal health care overhaul.
“Will I be here next year? I don’t know,” said Kristi Alpers, owner of Cherry Creek Tans in Denver. The tax will add 90 cents to a few dollars for a single tanning session, depending on the machine. It’s a fee she thinks will bankrupt her.
“They’re trying to ban tanning totally. That’s what this is about.”
Congressional tax writers project the tax will raise about $2.7 billion to help expand health coverage to uninsured Americans over the next decade, and they’re betting that indoor tanners won’t be turned off by a few extra dollars.