Britain is winning the war against smoking, in part due to a rise in the number of people choosing to vape or use e-cigarettes instead. But how do these alternatives to smoking impact the cost of your life insurance?
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK witnessed a “significant reduction” in the proportion of people aged 18 and over who considered themselves smokers in 2017 vs. the previous year.
In fact, Duncan Selbie, the chief executive of Public Health England (PHE), says smoking rates “have dropped by almost a quarter in five years”, a reality that is being heralded as a “triumphant step” in tackling the nation’s biggest killer.
Back in 1974, the proportion of British adults who smoked was 45.6%. By 2017, this figure had dropped to 16.8%.
More people choosing to vape
One of the reasons why fewer people are choosing to smoke today is because they have switched to vaping or e-cigarettes. These smoking alternatives, which are considered to be 95% less damaging than cigarettes, according to Public Health England (PHE), are thought to be utilised by nearly three million people in the UK today.
Vaping is considered more healthy than smoking traditional cigarettes because the vast majority of damaging toxins are actually found in the chemicals used to make cigarettes, not the nicotine itself.
But do so-called ‘vapers’ stand to pay less for life insurance than their cigarette smoking peers?
In a nutshell, the answer is that it depends on the insurance company providing the cover. That’s because while many insurers consider the use of all e-cigarettes, regardless of whether they do or don’t contain nicotine, as smoking, there are others who have taken a different stance.
For the vaping = smoking insurers, only people who have smoked nothing and not used any nicotine replacement products, such as e-cigarettes, for more than 12 months are classed as non-smokers.
However, there are also insurance companies out there who do believe that the use of nicotine-free e-cigarettes does not constitute smoking.
Smokers pay the price
Research by MoneySupermarket shows that smokers pay, on average, 65% higher life insurance costs – typically £26 extra a month or £312.84 a year. So, in addition to damaging their health, smokers also stand to pay significantly more for insurance cover than their non-smoking counterparts.
The ONS figures also showed that a person’s occupation can have a big impact on whether they smoke, with about a quarter of people in routine and manual jobs being smokers, compared with just one in 10 people in managerial and professional occupations.
By switching to a nicotine-free e-cigarette, smokers can reduce their life insurance premiums, providing they find an insurer who doesn’t classify this as smoking. It’s a reality that highlights just how important it is to find the right insurance policy for your individual circumstances.
I joined Premier Choice Group as a Healthcare & Protection Consultant in 2017, where I now look after the needs of over 200 clients nationwide. Prior to joining the Premier Choice Group, I worked for a large Private Healthcare Insurer, VitalityHealth, and managed SME and Individual clients across the country.