The Washington Post

Checking in on the Snooki tax


Turns out, other tan addicts believe it’s still worth the price for getting Snooki’s sunbathed look. The indoor tanning tax actually hasn’t slowed down the indoor tanning business, according to a report in this month’s Archives of Dermatology finds. Northwestern University researchers surveyed 308 indoor tanning salons in Illinois and found that patrons certainly don’t appreciate the new fee: 79 percent, just like Snooki, oppose it. But the extra cost wasn’t enough to stop them from hitting the tanning bed. In the same survey, 78 percent of salon patrons also said they didn’t care about the new excise tax.

I ran this conclusion by John Overstreet, executive director of the Indoor Tanning Association, which represents tanning salon owners in the Washington area. He’s no fan of the tanning tax and has testified at the Internal Revenue Service that the tax has hurt the salon business, arguing that it’s one reason why, since the recession started, about 15 percent of U.S. tanning salons have gone out of business.

But he also says the survey findings make sense: A lot of people who like to look as if they’ve been vacationing on an island paradise probably won’t give up tanning in the face of a 10 percent tax.

“Certainly some customers and businesses have been affected, but the tanning salons that are still open are probably picking up the business of those that have closed,” he said. “People who like what a tan does and how it feels will keep doing it. That doesn’t surprise me.”


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