Tanning Tax? More Like the Dumbshit Levy

No more waiting for Wednesday--now you can get a daily dose of Dategirl!

Q: You know what you don't want to hear when you're waiting for biopsy results on that weird little mole you just had lopped off?

A: "The doctor would like to discuss your test results with you in person--can you come in this morning?"

You know it's never good news when they make you schlep downtown. Sure enough, I've got skin cancer. Coincidentally, this happened just the day before the new 10% tax on indoor tanning went into effect. Did you know that tanning beds increase your chances of contracting melanoma (the deadliest kind of skin cancer) by 75%? Just like they did with cigarettes, the government's making it just a little bit pricer to kill yourself.

Now if I can get melanoma--an ex-goth who never tans, always walks in the shade, wears hats, slathers on sunscreen at every opportunity--what chance do the Snookies of the world have? Or the knuckleheads for whom GTL is a way of life? Who's going to keep them from turning a deadly shade of malignant mahogany?

To get some answers, I called Dr. Debra Jaliman, spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology. "A million people a year go into these beds," she says. "And I see so many teenagers getting melanomas."

Jaliman doesn't want to stop at the tax--she wants the beds banned. "People use the argument that you need to tan in order to get vitamin D," she says. "When it's safer and more effective to get it through your food."

But let's face it, most people don't go to tanning beds for their health--they go because they think a coating of caramel adds to their hotness. Since teenagers are a notoriously hard-sell when it comes to buzz-kills like mortality, I suggest that instead of trying to engage teens' already dubious powers of self-preservation, the AAD appeal to the same thing that got them into the salons in the first place: their vanity.

"So many changes that people think are aging--the lines, the broken blood vessels, the leathery texture, the brown and white spots, they're the effects of sun damage," she agreed. "Not aging."

But even knowing there's a good chance they're going to end up shriveled up like a prune and covered in cancerous sores, there is a segment of the population who is outraged at the government meddling with their right to fry themselves into chemotherapy and plan on protesting the tax--like a much browner and buffer version of the Tea Partiers. Even Senator John McCain got into the act via twitter:


Which is kind of ironic (or is STUPID a better word?) as McCain is a melanoma survivor himself.

So while the tanning twits are out chanting and carrying placards, protesting a government that's trying to keep them out of an early grave (or at least charge them extra to get there), I'll be shopping for SPF 1000, trying on beach burkas, and looking forward to next week's surgery.

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