Conscience Laureate

Monday, January 16, 2012


The Health Care Reform bill was passed more than a year ago, and while the constitutionality of it is being questioned, certain elements are already being implemented. One of those provisions is for a 10% tax on indoor tanning. Since the tax is expected to raise $2.7 billion during the next decade, I am all for it. Indoor tanning is a joke because it makes people look orange—a characteristic they don’t comprehend because their eyeballs are burned from the ultra-violet rays they subject themselves to.

The salon owners are upset with Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who was instrumental in the health reform bill as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. According to a Sun-Times story, “Baucus' staff issued a statement that says the tanning tax is warranted because of the health risks associated with indoor tanning. The International Agency for Research on Cancer found that the use of indoor tanning by those under age 35 can increase that person's risk of melanoma by up to 75 percent. Of the $1.8 billion spent on treating skin cancer each year, $300 million is spent on treating melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.” The statement continues with, "It is clear that tanning adds additional costs and health risks to our health care system and it is certainly appropriate for the industry to pay a part in addressing that burden."

The American Academy of Dermatology says there is a direct link between ultraviolet exposure and skin cancer and their web site explains the facts.

Risks of Indoor Tanning

• The United States Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency of Research on Cancer panel has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).
 • Indoor tanning equipment, which includes all artificial light sources, including beds, lamps, bulbs, booths, etc., emits UVA and UVB radiation. The amount of the radiation produced during indoor tanning is similar to the sun, and in some cases might be stronger.

• Studies have found a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning.

• Evidence from several studies has shown that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning devices is associated with an increased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.

• Studies have demonstrated that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning damages the DNA in the skin cells. Excessive exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning can lead to premature skin aging, immune suppression, and eye damage, including cataracts and ocular melanoma.

• Indoor tanning beds/lamps should be avoided and should not be used to obtain vitamin D because UV radiation from indoor tanning is a risk factor for skin cancer. Vitamin D can be obtained by a eating a healthy diet and by taking oral supplements.

• In a recent survey of adolescent tanning bed users, it was found that about 58 percent had burns due to frequent exposure to indoor tanning beds/lamps.

• The FDA estimates that there are about 3,000 hospital emergency room cases a year due to indoor tanning bed and lamp exposure.

Even with these scary health facts well-known, on an average day in the United States, more than 1 million people tan in tanning salons.

One on side there is The Indoor Tanning Association, an industry group for salon owners, which is touting the health benefits of tanning. They say the benefit is because human skin produces vitamin D when it's exposed to ultraviolet light and scientists say vitamin D helps strengthen bones and can help prevent other diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

The other side is the American Academy of Dermatologists which says "There is no scientifically validated, safe threshold level of UV exposure from the sun or indoor tanning devices that allows for maximum vitamin D synthesis without increasing cancer risk. Vitamin D deficiencies can be easily treated through diet and by taking vitamin supplements.”

So who do we believe? The fake bakers or the scientists? I go with the ones who have the college degrees.


  1. At my age, turning orange is the last thing I need! It's not easy being Green either!

  2. Thought of you and had a chuckle this morning after reading your blog and then checking my email. I had a groupon for discounts on fake tan! Groupon AND fake tan! Your favorites :)

  3. This is why I prefer spray tanning over the traditional beds….#1.) I’m not exposed to UV Rays, and #2.) I am not subject to the 10% indoor tanning tax. WIN WIN!! And I like to think I have a “bronzed-glow.”

  4. Kathy, you are crazy, LOL

    1. Indoor tanning really increases the risk of Skin Cancer so it should be avoided. Natural tanning is always best and this should be followed provided it does not turn to be over exposure.

      Skin Cancer Treatment