Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

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Tanning beds: The new Marlboro Reds

Baking your body inside a tanning bed has always been detrimental to your skin. But it may soon also wreak havoc on your wallet.

This past weekend, the Senate amended the embattled healthcare bill by replacing the proposed 5% tax on elective plastic surgery procedures with a proposed 10% tax on indoor tanning. The tax would raise an estimated $2.7 billion over 10 years.

The so-called "Botax" on elective surgeries raised the ire of the American Medical Assn., which cried discrimination against women (as they're more likely to opt for plastic surgery than men). Apparently, the tanning bed industry doesn't pack as much clout -- so weekly trips to the local tanning salon might be significantly more expensive in the future.

Lawmakers love to tax things that are bad for you -- the higher costs are meant to be a further deterrent. And like smoking a pack of Camels every day, "bronzing" your epidermis regularly has been inextricably linked to cancer. Nose jobs may be steeped in vanity, but they at least have the power to improve mental states.

So I started thinking about what other societal "ills" could raise a little bread for our hobbled economy...

* Stiletto heels over 4 inches tall. Bad for the back, bad for the foot arch -- good for the economy?

* Vanity dogs. That pint-sized Pomeranian in the Louis Vuitton case that yaps at you in line at Whole Foods could pitch in for the greater good.

* "Embellished" jeans and T-shirts dripping with tattoo graphics and "crystals." OK, so they're not exactly detrimental to the wearer. But they've been making our eyes bleed for some time now.

-- Emili Vesilind


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Photo: Dilip Mehta / Contact Press Images

Comments () | Archives (5)

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I can hear John Boehner whining from here in LA....

I'm a Democrat but this is one thing I hate about Democrats -- the idea that the government knows better than individuals what's best for those individuals.

This is sickening...Fake-bakes, stilettos, botox, cosmetic surgery, 'make-up' (as if being imperfect is a mortal sin), hair-coloring, gucci shades, blah, blah, blah. The average so-cal woman is so self-absorbed in a self-imposed glamour contest with fellow competitors that they have forgotten to nourish the person they are supposed to be on the inside. Instead of making a positive difference in this world, they fall all over themselves to impress the average hetero male, (wealthy and otherwise) with details we're not interested in. Wake up SoCal women and realize that the guy who buys into your alter-ego isn't getting the real thing, and come to think of it, we don't want it anyway. Real Women rock...

I have yet to see a study showing that tanning in moderation is associated with cancer. Rather, sunburning (esp. at a young age) is a risk factor for melanoma. Moderate UV exposure has been shown to have substantial health benefits. In addition to treating seasonal depression, UV light helps the body produce vitamin D. This important fat soluble prohormone (deficient in many) has been shown to boost the immune system, prevent cardiovascular disease, and prevent cancer. That being said, how about we throw a sin tax on McDonald's instead! Dr. J

Spray tanning is so much healthier than a tanning bed. I used to go get tanned in a bed... but you can get skin cancer from that! Instead, I started having Eclipse Airbrushing ( come to me to provide a spray tan.


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