Saving Us from Ourselves: 'Evening News' Justifies Federal Tanning Tax

So you want to crawl under a high-powered lamp and bake your skin so that it has a brownish-orangish glow to it, even though there are potential health consequences. Well, the federal government is here to save you and, according to “CBS Evening News,” that’s not a bad thing.

The new federal 10 percent tax on indoor tanning has provoked odd alliances – such as when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told “Snooki” from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” through Twitter he would “never tax your tanning bed.” But on the June 30 broadcast of “Evening News,” CBS correspondent Michelle Miller made the case why the government should.

“Gisselle Colon wanted to be bronze and beautiful. She sunbathed and bought a membership to a tanning salon several years ago. Last month, things turned ugly,” Miller said. “This is her scar. In May, Gisselle was diagnosed with melanoma, one of the deadliest and most preventable forms of cancer.”

And according to Miller, guess what – exposure to large doses of UVA radiation increases the likelihood you’ll wind up with skin problems.

“An estimated 30 million Americans use tanning beds every year – 2.3 million are teenagers. It costs about $17 a visit. A 10 percent tax will raise that price by $1.70,” Miller continued. “It’s unclear whether that will be enough to discourage indoor tanners. What is clear, new research finds indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75 percent. Why? Tanning booths emit those UVA and UVB radiation. UVA causes the burns, UVB the tan. Booths emit mostly UVA, but it can be at doses 12 times stronger than the sun.”

This tax will hurt small business owners, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. The NFIB says approximately 19,000 “mom and pop” small businesses could be affected by this tax and those businesses will likely spend an average of more than $74 an hour to comply with federal tax paperwork burdens.

“The first present we get under this new health care law takes effect this week — and that is the tanning tax,” Karen Harned of the NFIB said at The Heritage Foundation’s Bloggers Briefing on June 30.

But this didn’t stop Miller from making the obligatory case for the tanning salon regulation, or even a ban.

“New public service announcements take aim at teen tanning,” she said. “So too, are lawmakers. Thirty-two states now restrict it, for example, by requiring parental permission in person. And New York State is considering banning indoor tanning outright for anyone under 18.”