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We dermatologists are watching with, well, glee, as a new tax on tanning takes effect. It’s funny how perceptions are colored by context. Most doctors probably hate the idea of more taxes, but it seems fine when the tax is on someone else, particularly someone who we see doing harm to people’s health.

Knowing how addictive tanning is for some people and how strong current societal pressures are on young people for a tanned appearance, I doubt this tax is going to change long-term skin cancer rates. Perhaps the income the tax generates will offset some of the government/societal cost of skin cancer treatment.  In fairness though, perhaps we should tax all cosmetic services equally — whether it is tanning or cosmetic surgery.


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