Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tanning Salons In Play As Potential Health Revenue Raiser

Maybe they took their they hate us because we're free mantra a little too seriously. Maybe they think that, by making us less free, people will vicariously hate us less.

These are the tell-tale signs of a psychotic, rogue, out of control government: they've spent themselves into bankruptcy, completely devalued our currency, and wrecked our entire economy, but, rather than tighten their belts and be fiscally responsible (fiscal responsibility...what's that?!), they go on a scavenger hunt looking for new creative ways to rape us and usurp greater control over how we live our lives - ie, less freedom.

Incidentally, it is important to note that, while tanning beds are generally known to cause cancer, it is in the same carcinogen category as red wine and salted fish. Under-exposure to UV rays, which your body uses to generate vitamin D, which regulates 2-3,000 genes and decreases cancers overall by 50-60 percent, is far more harmful than moderate exposure.

    National Journal -

    First there was the "Bo-tax" on elective cosmetic surgeries. Now, a new tax on indoor tanning services could be in play, as Senate Democrats continue to hunt for healthcare revenues anywhere they can.

    The concept of an excise tax on tanning services, which could include salon walk-ins or tanning beds and sunlamps sold for residential use, was floated in a weekend Senate staff meeting on the health bill. Officials described the idea as preliminary and not being seriously considered at this time. But as senators continue to draft amendments to add spending or scale back other pay-fors, all bets could be off. It would also be in keeping with Senate Democrats' desire to keep any new revenue sources within the healthcare system.

    Indoor tanning has come under increasing fire of late for harmful health effects. Last week, the FDA issued a warning on its Web site, "Indoor Tanning: The Risks of Ultraviolet Rays."

    "Sunlamps and tanning beds promise consumers a bronzed body year-round, but the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from these devices poses serious health risks," the FDA post said. It goes on to quote Sharon Miller, an FDA scientist and expert on UV radiation: "Although some people think that a tan gives them a 'healthy' glow, any tan is a sign of skin damage ... over time, this damage will lead to prematurely aged skin and, in some cases, skin cancer."

    The FDA noted that in July, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, concluded that tanning devices are "carcinogenic to humans." In a 2008 report to Congress, FDA said that UV exposure associated with sunlamp products was excessive.

    The FDA post cites the case of Brittany Lietz Cicala, the former Miss Maryland, who used tanning beds at least four times a week between ages 17-20 before being diagnosed four years ago with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. She now has about 25 scars from surgeries.

    The Indoor Tanning Association, the trade group representing what it says is a $5 billion industry, could not be reached for comment Monday night. The group's Web site says it represents tanning manufacturers, distributors and salon owners, and was founded to "protect the freedom of individuals to acquire a suntan, via natural or artificial light."

    On a "frequently asked questions" page on the group's site, it states that melanoma is more prevalent in people who typically work indoors and on parts of the body that do not receive regular exposure to sunlight. It also says moderate exposure to UV light can be good for health by helping to produce vitamin D.

    The ITA's PAC is not very active this year, having contributed to only two senators, although they are influential: $1,000 each to Minority Leader McConnell and Agriculture Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln, as well as the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to FEC records. Kentucky and Arkansas, home to McConnell and Lincoln respectively, are home to tanning equipment-makers, according to the ITA Web site.