The New Price of Tanning

April 2010
Rain, snow, and even tornadoes are in the weather forecast. It's still April, after all, meaning those who seek to keep their spring break bronze are hitting the tanning salons. But business is slow this spring, reports The Associated Press. Not only is the industry dealing with the recession, it also has to contend with renewed health warnings about the skin cancer risks associated with tanning beds. And don't forget that controversial 10 percent tax on tanning-bed use, which is part of the federal health-care overhaul. The tax goes into effect in July, leading Cherry Creek Tans owner Kristi Alpers to wonder if she can remain in business. "They're trying to ban tanning totally. That's what this is about," she says. Many small salons could close because of the tax, which is expected to raise roughly $2.7 billion to extend health coverage to uninsured Americans, according to the Indoor Tanning Association. But it seems at least some customers will remain loyal despite the increased cost: "I don't care how much it costs, I'm going to do it. I love it," says Lisa Mailloux, a Cherry Creek Tans customer. In yet another slam to the industry, a study in the Archives of Dermatology, a medical journal, has issued a finding that about 42 percent of compulsive tanners "reported using more than one drug in the previous month, twice the rate of casual tanners," writes BusinessWeek.