Tanning, taxes, and a trillion dollar health care bill

FRESNO, Calif.

But when a relentless summer sun beats down a day of water play calls for sun screen and the hope of avoiding a sun burn.

In the Northeast Fresno shopping center at Ft. Washington & Friant road is the Touch of Gold Tanning Salon. Brianna Batty heads there because she doesn't want to get burned, she wants a base tan.

Mark Humphrey welcomes her and others to his tanning salon, he and Brianna believe it's safer than lying out in the sun. She told us, "I'm getting ready for my wedding so I'm gonna start early so I don't look too tanned at my wedding."

Because of the Obama Health Plan there is a now a new 10% federal tax on tanning sessions. Brienaa bought her package yesterday to avoid paying it after July 1, 2010.

A decision many doctors believes is an open door to skin cancer. It can cause the same damage and potential cancer as full sun exposure outdoors. Mark Humphrey believes differently, "State regulations say we can't say any of them are safe. We just tell them these are controlled. They filter out everything except the UVA and the UVB."

Cancer specialists like Dr. Ravi Rao of Fresno emphatically disagree. He's seen it in his own practice, "two women, young women whose only risk factor for carcinoma was that they used to go to tanning parlors."

Tanning salon owners and their customers aren't convinced, "Some come in every day and some couple times a week."

The new tax may or may not discourage visits to tanning salons but Dr. Rao is sure that continued use will only lead to higher rates of potentially deadly skin cancer, "I think going to a tanning parlor is just bad, period."

The American Cancer Society reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among young adults ages 25 to 29.

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American Cancer Society -- Tanning Beds and Melanoma Risk

Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer, and its incidence has been rising for the past 30 years, according to the American academy of dermatology. The American Cancer Society warns that natural sun exposure and artificial sun in tanning beds are both sources of harmful UV rays. The damage may not surface for years but the risk and occurrence of deadly melanoma increase with continuing outside and indoor exposure to those UV rays.

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