In recent years, some cigarette smokers have switched to a more socially acceptable form of nicotine delivery – the e-cigarette. So, since these electronic alternatives (such as vaping) are lower in toxins than traditional tobacco cigarettes, can you get better rates for life insurance than if you smoke regular cigarettes?
In certain circles, cigarette smoking has become rather unfashionable these days. You can’t smoke at your work desk. You can’t smoke inside public buildings. You can’t smoke on planes (who ever thought that was a good idea?). What’s a smoker to do?
According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing 480,000 people annually. There are over 7,000 known toxins and carcinogens in tobacco. Since the famous 1964 landmark Surgeon General report, many anti-smoking measures have been initiated over the past five decades, but one of the more effective methods of curtailing nicotine consumption has been statewide smoking bans, which began in California in 1995. Currently, 28 states have banned smoking in all enclosed public places.
Because of the effective implementation of smoking bans, some smokers have actually taken these not-so-subtle state restrictions as an incentive to quit their pack-a-day (or more) nicotine habit.
But still others have taken a different approach to smoking – e-cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) are devices that heat a liquid nicotine cartridge, creating an inhalable vapor. It is claimed that the level of these toxins in e-cigarettes is much lower than in regular cigarettes.
Unfortunately, there are no long term studies on the health effects caused by using e-cigarettes. Nor are there any uniform oversights over their manufacture.
So if you enjoy “vaping” (called such because you’re technically breathing vapor, rather than smoke) over smoking a traditional cigarette…does that mean you’ll be rewarded with lower life insurance rates than the Marlboro Man?
Well, not yet.
Effective August 8, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has ruled that e-cigarettes are now considered to be “tobacco products,” and thereby subject to federal regulation. In short, the FDA has put regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the same boat.
And that means that most life insurance companies will probably follow suit. Since most life insurance companies requires a medical exam to qualify for a policy, the detection of nicotine in your blood will most likely put you in the same boat as traditional cigarette smokers. Which means that the best “non-smoker” rate classes will probably not be in the cards if you’re “vaping.” Sorry.
So until long-term health studies prove or disprove that e-cigarettes are less harmful that traditional cigarettes, the best rates you’ll probably get if you’re a “vaper” will be the “Preferred Smokers” rate. Yeah…“Preferred Smoker” is an actual rate class, not an oxymoron. At least for now.
Of course, that might change down the road. Who knows?
What we do know is that vaping has become increasingly popular. So while you probably won’t save big bucks on your life insurance anytime soon…look on the bright side – you’ll no longer smell like an ashtray. Like the Marlboro Man.
Hey, you have to take these victories where you can find them.