Tanning Salon Lobby Musters Together Some Angry E-mailers


The most recent Senate health care bill sent shocks through the nerves of insecure teenage girls across the country by including, at the very last minute, a 10% tax on indoor tanning sessions. This replaced a cosmetic surgery tax as a new revenue stream, because plastic surgeons have something resembling a lobby, and therefore Congress can do nothing except give them everything they want. As for our "tanneries," they are left scrambling with a few angry e-mails to customers, and nothing more.

Someone forwards Ben Smith this example of the last minute anti-tanning tax push:

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Sun Tan City

Date: Wed, Dec 23, 2009

Subject: Help stop the tax on tanning

Don’t let Congress tax your tanning.

We’ve just learned that a new 10% Federal tax has been proposed on all tanning services. We are reaching out to all Sun Tan City clients to help in the fight to squash this tax.

Time is of the essence, the Senate is on track to vote Christmas Eve so be heard now.

Click on this link: TELL CONGRESS TO TAKE THE TAN TAX OUT OF HEALTHCARE REFORM to register your opposition with your Senators and Member of Congress.

Once on the website, select the customer link. Enter your zip code and address to find your representative and senators. You can either personalize the letter already present in the message field or send it as it is.

Support your right to tan from your friends at

Sun Tan City®

Let yourself shine.®


The Guardian adds:

The bulletin boards of tantoday.com, a web forum for salon owners, were full of irate posts. One said: "Thanks Obama for helping a family of 4 trying to get on track and plan for our kids future in a struggling economy after 5 years of personal financial struggles. Please no more help for us small business owners, I can't afford it!"

But cosmetic surgeons were relieved, because under the old terms of the bill they had been the ones to be targeted for additional taxes. In furious lobbying, they managed to persuade the Democrats drafting the bill that a tax on plastic surgery — dubbed the Bo-tax after Botox — would be unfair to women as most consumers of cosmetic surgery are female.

Sounds like the tanners have a point. Why tax small (admittedly gay) businesses instead of rich people things like cosmetic surgery -- especially when the cosmetic surgeons' lobby can't come up with anything better than "uhh you would kill women?"

Dan Humiston, president of the Indoor Tanning Association and the owner of 34 salons in New York state, said they were being picked upon. "Out of all industries you could chose, why the tanning industry? Because we're so wealthy? Because we're making so much money? From customers who pay $6 for a tan? No, it's because we're not going to fight back," he told the Denver Post.

That's why.

Indoor tanning is still retarded, though. Us gingers have been telling people this for years. Finally, some results!

Tanning lobby swings into action: 'Support your right to tan' [Ben Smith]

Tanning tax angers American salon owners [Guardian]


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