How Tanning Has Changed

Calling all indoor tanners: Starting right now, you should notice a bigger hit to your wallet each time you visit the salon for a fake-bake session. That's because the "Tan Tax" President Obama signed into law last March takes effect today. The tax adds a 10 percent surcharge to the cost of using any UV-emitting tanning equipment, with the money going to help fund the new health care bill.

Here at Cosmo, we totally applaud the tan tax; hey, anything to get young women to quit cooking their skin and boosting their risk of potentially deadly skin cancer. The indoor tanning industry, however, is a lot less thrilled. In fact, many salon owners plan to lower their prices so customers don't have to pay more.

Find out about Cosmo's Practice Safe Sun campaign.

One New York City salon told us, "We're adding an extra tan [session] to all of our packages" so that the Tan Tax doesn't effect users. And an indoor tanning place in Austin, Texas said that whatever customers paid in tax this month they would get back in "tan credit"-dollars they could use on sessions or a new package. A few salons we spoke with said they hadn't heard anything about it and didn't think prices would be affected. Disregarding the law and offering up cancer coffins to young women? Not cool. Or could it be that they just don't know about a huge piece of legislation that affects their industry? Hmm...

Here's how to do a self-check on your skin.

Our hope is that any tanning salon with a UV-emitting device either goes out of business or switches to offering only spray tans (which aren't taxed, by the way.) And the Tan Tax could be the first step in that direction.

If you currently tan, would you stop tanning if the cost got too high? Would you switch to spray tanning?

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.