For decades, we’ve known that smoking is bad for our health – research has conclusively shown that smoking increases your risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung disease, among others.
Clyde Parsons, actuarial executive at BrightRock, explained that this is why smoking rates are higher than non-smoking rates in life insurance.
âSmokers can pay more than double the premiums a non-smoker would pay, depending on factors like age, pre-existing conditions like those mentioned above and how you’ve structured your policy. “
But did you know that regular e-cigarette users are also billed at the smoker rate when it comes to life insurance?
Parsons explained why you are being charged smoking rates and what you can do about it.
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Why are vapers charged at the smoking rate?
Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated products designed to provide nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals. They turn chemicals, including nicotine, into an aerosol which is inhaled by the user.
Most insurers in South Africa, including BrightRock, charge e-cigarette users the same rates they charge smokers of traditional tobacco products.
There are several reasons for this.
First, electronic cigarettes, such as vapers, contain smaller doses of nicotine and other harmful substances, such as ultrafine particles, flavors, and heavy metals.
Although the nicotine levels are lower than in traditional tobacco products, they still pose some risk to the user’s long-term health.
That being said, some electronic cigarettes may contain even more nicotine than normal combustible cigarettes.
Second, since e-cigarettes are still relatively new, little research has been done to investigate the health risks associated with their use.
However, some of the available research shows that e-cigarette consumption has been associated with an increased risk of chronic cough, bronchitis, and asthma.
It is also believed that e-cigarette smokers are more susceptible to respiratory infections and poor cardiovascular health.
What if I vape because I want to quit smoking?
The World Health Organization, which has unequivocally stated that e-cigarettes are harmful to health, said that out of 1.1 billion smokers worldwide, 60% want to quit.
Many tobacco smokers use electronic cigarettes to help them quit smoking.
When purchasing clients for life insurance from BrightRock, they ask if they smoke or use other nicotine products other than cigarettes, such as cigars, pipes, bubbles, e-cigarettes or even nicotine gum.
If customers have used any of these products in the 12 months prior to their request, they will be charged smoking rates.
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This is because smokers, whether they inhale nicotine from combustible cigarettes or electronic cigarettes, are more likely to relapse within 12 months of quitting.
How do I get non-smoker life insurance rates?
If you are one of the 600 million people around the world who want to quit smoking now, you will be happy to know that changing the habit is worth it not only from a health point of view, but also from a point of view. life insurance premiums.
If you haven’t smoked or used nicotine products for 12 months, you can apply for non-smoker life insurance rates.
Your insurer will ask you to sign a non-smoking declaration and to take a urine test with cotinine.
If the test is negative it could cut your premium to half, which at a time when everyone is watching their rands and cents is definitely worth considering.
What if I have a policy and I start to smoke or vape?
The effect on your coverage and your premiums will depend on your insurer. At BrightRock, you don’t need to let them know if you’re starting to smoke or vape, and your premiums and coverage won’t be affected. Having started smoking after your policy begins will not affect your claim.
However, it is important to know that many insurers in the market require that you notify them if you start to smoke or vape. If you don’t, they may reduce or even deny your request as a result.