As a source of funding the $938 billion health care overhaul, the tanning tax is expected to bring in $2.7 billion of revenue in the next 10 years according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
In a 2009 study, the American Cancer Society stated that about 30 million Americans visit indoor tanning salons each year. They use this number to show how many individuals are being harmed by overexposure to Ultra Violet rays; but owner of No Sand Tan in Cartersville Randy Black would use the number to represent the number of small business owners who will suffer as a result of the tax.
"If they want to make a decision to use tanning as something they want to do they're getting punished for it in a way with this extra tax," Black said. "It just makes it even harder when they add this tax to it. It's going to be harder on us to stay in business."
Officials with health organizations applaud the tax for acting as a deterrent for harmful activities. According to the ACS, a 2009 study showed that individuals who had ever used indoor tanning devices were about 75 percent more likely to have developed melanoma.
The World Health Organization also cites a correlation between tanning and other skin cancers, skin diseases, skin aging and eye damage.
Black added that moderation is the key in all things, the misuse of tanning he admits may too be harmful if used incorrectly. He added that the imposed tax is in addition to the 7 percent state tax, creating a case of unfair taxation.
"It's like anything else, you can overdo things and it'd be harmful to you. If you tan in moderation and don't overexpose yourself which we always advise people not to overexpose and how long to stay, the proper way to tan, to work your way up to the full time. We don't advise people to come every day, that's their choice if they want to," Black said. "I can't see how it could be any worse for you than being exposed to the sun all the time and you're not going to put a 10 percent tax on the man that works outside all the time. ... You're looking at a 17 percent tax -- I don't know of anybody else that has to pay that."
He added that phototherapy, a process used by dermatologists to treat certain skin disorders, though similar in technique to tanning, is not included in this new tax. He even has customers who tan regularly for the treatment of psoriasis.
Among his complaints is that the tax unfairly affects certain populations. "I feel like it is discriminatory for one thing," Black said. "Only white people tan, you know, maybe some Latin [Americans]."
In relation to this, the ACS found, in the same study, that melanoma is 10 times more likely in whites than in African Americans. However, contrary to tanning trends the study found that men are slightly more likely to develop melanoma than women.
The indoor tanning tax will not be applied to spray tans, topical creams or lotions. Qualified physical fitness facilities offering tanning services as an ancillary service with no difference in fees or membership for tanning services are excluded from the tax.