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Vaping and life insurance: here’s everything you need to know

Vaping and life insurance: here’s everything you need to know

Aug 10, 2023

When it comes to working out the cost of life insurance, providers take a range of factors into account including:

  • Your age
  • The amount of cover you want and the term of the policy
  • Your health
  • Your occupation and any high-risk hobbies you have
  • Whether you smoke.

You’ve previously read about how smoking can significantly increase the cost of protection such as life insurance. As a smoker, you’re statistically more likely to die within the term of your life insurance policy than a non-smoker. So, an insurer will charge you more for your cover to represent this additional risk.

What you maybe did not know is that you will also pay significantly more for your cover if you vape.

Official government figures show that around 3.2 million adults in the UK vape. It has been rising in popularity in recent years, particularly among young people.

Charity ASH says that, in 2023, 20.5% of children had tried vaping, up from 15.8% in 2022 and 13.9% in 2020 before the first Covid-19 lockdown.

New research published by the Daily Mail reveals just how much more it can cost vapers for life insurance. Read on to find out more.

Vaping can double the cost of your life insurance

New analysis has revealed that vaping can double your life insurance premium. While vaping is generally regarded as safer than smoking, major insurers consider e-cigs and vapes to be just as dangerous as their tobacco equivalents – at least when it comes to the cost of cover.

The Daily Mail reports that a 50-year-old vaper has to pay £60.24 a month, while someone of the same age who did not vape would only pay £26.94 monthly for the same cover.

These figures relate to an office worker with no critical illnesses who is in good health. It is based on the average price from 16 leading UK insurers.

When you apply for protection, most insurers consider that vaping – alongside other products such as e-cigarettes, and nicotine gum or patches – is the same as smoking. This means they will apply a similar increase in premium.

As it’s widely agreed that vaping is less harmful than smoking this may seem unfair. However, the long-term effects of vaping are still unknown, and so insurers are erring on the side of caution and treating vapers the same as smokers in respect of life insurance.

Some insurers charge vapers almost three times more than non-smokers

The Mail research shows that some insurance companies charge vapers nearly three times the amount than non-vapers, depending on their age.

For example, a 50-year-old vaper would face a monthly cost of £80.84 if they took out insurance with Royal London. However, if they quit and stayed nicotine free for 12 months, they would only pay £29.13 — saving them £15,513 over a 25-year term.

Craig Paterson, chief underwriter at Royal London, said: “When it comes to life insurance premiums, smokers usually pay around twice as much as their non-smoking counterparts, rising to nearly three times as much for older smokers.”

Aviva life insurance offered similar terms to Royal London. They quoted £84.84 per month for regular vapers and just £35.79 for non-smokers.

A spokesperson for Aviva said: “When applying for life insurance, applicants will be asked about their smoking status, which includes the use of products containing nicotine.

“As smoking is a known risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer, premiums for customers who smoke or use products containing nicotine are higher than for non-smokers.

“At present, there is a lack of long-term evidence available on the health impacts of vaping. And in our experience, many users of vaping products will also use conventional tobacco products or have a history of using these products.”

Other insurers offer lower rates, but the difference between smoking still doubles the premium.

Liverpool Victoria (LV=) quotes £44.11 for the same type of cover for someone who vapes, but just £18.51 for those who haven’t vaped or smoked in the last 12 months.

Vaping is not a “risk-free” alternative to cigarettes

Vapes and e-cigarettes enable people to inhale nicotine in a vapour. This is produced by heating a liquid that typically contains propylene glycol, glycerine, flavourings, and other chemicals.

Unlike traditional cigarettes, they do not contain tobacco or produce tar or carbon – two of the most dangerous elements.

However, some vapes have been found to contain over 9.6 times the safe level of nickel and 6.6 times the safe level of chromium.

Worries about the impact of vaping are growing across the UK as usage rates have almost doubled in a decade.

In a bid to address the lack of information about the effects of vaping on long-term health, doctors could be required to ask all patients if they have ever vaped and add this to their medical records. This is part of a major review by the British Medical Association into the dangers, marketing, and illegal sales of e-cigarettes.

Doctors are concerned that there could be a wave of lung disease, dental issues and even cancer in the coming decades in people who took up vaping when they were younger. That is because e-cigarettes produce many dangerous chemicals linked to fatal lung and heart conditions.

This includes acute lung injury, COPD, lung cancer, and heart disease.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has warned that e-cigarettes “are not a risk-free product and can be just as addictive, if not more so, than traditional cigarettes”.

Almost 1,000 serious adverse reactions to e-cigarettes have been logged by Britain’s health watchdog. These include blood, nervous system and respiratory disorders, as well as cancer and injuries such as burns.

Vaping considered to be better for your health than smoking

According to the NHS, vaping products are considered to be better than cigarettes. This is because you are exposed to fewer toxins and at lower levels. Vaping instead of smoking traditional cigarettes reduces your exposure to toxins that can cause cancer, lung disease, and diseases of the heart and circulation, such as strokes and heart attacks.

Indeed, Public Health England published an expert independent review in 2015 which concluded that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than cigarettes.

However, vaping is not risk-free. While levels in tobacco products are much higher, e-cigarettes still contain harmful toxins.

There were nearly 350 hospitalisations due to vaping logged in England in 2022. These were mainly for respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, lung inflammation and, in severe cases, respiratory failure.

We can help you to find the right vaping life insurance

If you do vape and you want the peace of mind that your loved ones will receive vital financial support if you die prematurely, we can help.

As you have read, if you vape, you’ll pay more for your life insurance than a non-smoker. So, it’s important to shop around to find the best price for the protection you need.

We work with many customers who are smokers or vapers, and we can help you to find the best price for the life insurance you require. Simply get a life insurance quote online, and we’ll search the market for you and compare prices from dozens of the UK’s leading insurers.

Get a vapers life insurance quote now.

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