Academy opposes legislation to repeal indoor tanning tax

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (Academy) opposes recent legislation to repeal the federal 10 percent indoor tanning tax. Countless scientific studies continue to demonstrate clear and compelling evidence that tanning bed use increases the risk of developing all forms of skin cancer. Tomorrow, July 1, is the one-year anniversary of the tax that addresses the serious public health risks associated with indoor tanning.

"The indoor tanning tax sends a clear message to Americans, especially young people, that tanning is a dangerous activity and that a tan is not a sign of good health," said dermatologist Ronald L. Moy, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. "As the medical doctors who treat more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer in America every year, dermatologists are focused on increasing awareness of and protecting the public from the known skin cancer risks associated with UV radiation from indoor tanning."

However, in recent weeks, there have been two bills introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to repeal the tax on tanning bed services. "The Academy is disappointed that the proposed repeal legislation ignores the serious public health impact of indoor tanning and the dramatic rise of skin cancer in young women," said Dr. Moy.

Indoor tanning is associated with a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for at least 30 years and melanoma is increasing faster in young women (15-29 years old) than in young men in the same age group - and a major difference in behavior is that women are more likely to use indoor tanning beds.

"The skin cancer risk inherent in tanning bed use cannot be ignored and similar to the tobacco tax, the indoor tanning tax appropriately reflects the cancer-causing effects of indoor tanning," stated Dr. Moy. "It is the hope of the Academy that the current federal tax on this activity remains in place as a deterrent to this harmful behavior."

SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology (Academy)

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