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New Jersey business owners likely to be affected by teen tanning ban

Entrepreneurs who started a small tanning business in New Jersey are finding their business threatened by a new law making its way through the state legislature. The bill takes aim at tanning salons, looking to ban minors from tanning. Politicians and lobbyists cite skin cancer research as the reason to prevent teens from using the service.

According to the American Cancer Society and many dermatologists, indoor tanning is allowing skin cancer to become part of teenage life. Research is showing that over-exposure to unhealthy UV rays is causing skin cancer in many individuals under the age of 18. According to a piece from the Gloucester County Times, many New Jersey lawmakers were swayed by this data alone.

The impacts on small business owners who operate tanning businesses in New Jersey could be immense if the bill is signed into law, which recently passed through the state Senate with a vote of 22 to 7. Now the bill has advanced to the Assembly. Many tanning salon owners are concerned about how a ban will affect their business because teenage women regularly frequent tanning salons, especially during the months of March, April, and May.

Many owners were striving to work with research long before this new bill was drafted. Some salons go beyond the parental consent requirement of 14-year-old to 17-year-old teens by only allowing them to tan for a set amount of time. Other salons require the presence of a parent with their child every time they want to go tanning.

Tanning salons are already hit with a 10 percent excise tax on top of the state’s 7 percent sales tax. Restricting them any more will likely force a majority of salons to close their doors. Many individuals use tanning salons as light treatment therapy for those plagued by seasonal affective disorder. Some even use tanning as a way to fight against acne.

Some lawmakers have considered the likely impacts on small business owners, but believe that skin cancer in teens outweighs the fiscal effects on tanning salon owners.

Source:, “Measure banning teenage tanning salon use in New Jersey has some small business owners seeing red,” Carly Q. Romalino, 18 July 2011

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