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Americans Evenly Divided Over “Sin Tax” on Indoor Tanning

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Skin Cancer related image Photo: Getty Images

After bonding with Arizona Senator John McCain over indoor tanning taxes via Twitter, “Jersey Shore” star Snooki has decided to use a spray on tan this season rather than pay the 10 percent surcharge “that Obama put on tanning,” she said.

“@Sn00ki u r right,” the 2008 Republican presidential candidate tweeted on his verified account. “I would never tax your tanning bed! Pres Obama's tax/spend policy is quite The Situation. but I do rec wearing sunscreen!”

The new indoor tanning tax went into effect July 1, 2010 as part of the health care overhaul signed by President Obama in March. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the tax will raise $2.7 billion over 10 years and is projected to help fund the $960 billon health care bill. The 10 percent tanning tax replaced the 5 percent tax on cosmetic surgery that was originally including in the bill.

While Snooki and McCain oppose the tax, a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll released this week (September 2010 edition) found that Americans were nearly evenly split in their opinions about the tanning tax, with opposition holding a five-point lead. Forty-six percent of adults polled said they opposed the surcharge while 41-percent supported the so-called "sin-tax" on the potentially cancer-causing UV rays.

Respondents nationwide were asked if "tanning salons should be taxed like cigarettes and alcohol?" The poll found that older Americans, in general, and adult men made up the majority of the opposition while young people and women favored the tax.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, who supported the tax, indoor tanning before the age of 35 is linked to a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, which has only recently become more common in young females. The National Cancer Institute estimate this year alone, more than 1 million new skin cancer cases will be diagnosed in Americans. Meanwhile, nearly 30 million Americans hit the tanning beds each year and about 2.3 million of these people are teenagers.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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