Legislators call for repeal of indoor tanning tax; organizations speak out

August 1, 2011

A group of Republican lawmakers in Washington is now trying to repeal the 10 percent tax on tanning bed services that was included in the new healthcare reform law, and the medical community - led by the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) - is fighting back.

Key Points

A group of Republican lawmakers in Washington is now trying to repeal the 10 percent tax on tanning bed services that was included in the new healthcare reform law, and the medical community - led by the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) - is fighting back.

"This unfair punishment of small business must be repealed," declared Rep. Grimm, who has at least 29 Republicans signed up as co-sponsors of the bill.

AADA disappointment

Ronald L. Moy, M.D., president of the AADA, fired off a letter to Rep. Grimm expressing opposition to the bill.

"We are disappointed that the legislation ignores the serious public health risks associated with indoor tanning," Dr. Moy wrote. "Countless scientific studies have shown clear and compelling evidence that tanning bed use increases the risk of developing all forms of skin cancer. There is a demonstrated 75 percent increase in the risk of developing melanoma with even minimal use of a tanning bed."

Dr. Moy pointed out that the Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have recognized the carcinogenic risks associated with tanning bed use, and that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now evaluating the science surrounding ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure from tanning beds. The FDA is considering reclassifying them to reflect their associated health risks.

"The risks inherent in tanning bed use cannot be ignored," Dr. Moy said. "Like the tobacco tax, the tanning tax appropriately reflects the carcinogenic effects of indoor tanning, and it is the hope of the AADA that the current federal tax on this activity remains in place as a deterrent to harmful behavior."