Research E-Cigarettes as Bad as Smoking

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - New research found that Insurance companies consider vaping to be just as unhealthy as smoking and put up policies accordingly.

Users of electronic cigarettes have to pay up to 65 per cent more for life insurance premiums than non-smokers – the same increase that traditional smokers face.

The cost is equivalent to £26 extra per month on average for decreasing term insurance with critical illness cover, according to the survey by price comparison website MoneySuperMarket.

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at the website, said: ‘Using nicotine in any form, including patches and gum, means you’ll be regarded as a smoker – you have to be nicotine-free for 12 months to get the lower premiums, Daily Mail reported.

‘If you already have life cover and successfully give up smoking, it’s worth telling your insurer to see if they will adjust your premiums accordingly. Alternatively, you could run a fresh quote as a non-smoker to see what prices are available.’

Mr Pratt said no distinction is made between smoking and e-cigarette use because scientific studies about the health impact of e-cigarettes have been inconclusive so far.

Insurers also make no distinction based on how many cigarettes are smoked each day. The researchers found that the North West and South East of the country have the joint-highest percentage of smokers (12.6 per cent), while just one in 20 young people have smoked in the last 12 months.

Quoted premiums for life insurance policies were analysed for between January and April 2018. With decreasing term insurance, the amount of cover reduces over the term of the policy, usually to reflect the reduction in the amount owed on a capital and interest mortgage.

For alternative level term life insurance, for which smokers pay £16.59 more on average per month than non-smokers, the amount of cover remains the same for the duration of the policy. The Association of British Insurers yesterday said the health data on e-cigarettes was ‘inconclusive’.

Public Health England has said vaping is 95 per cent safer than smoking, while the Royal College of Physicians states: ‘The public can be reassured that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking.’

But studies have suggested the nicotine and tobacco content of e-cigarettes still pose a health risk.

A study published this month suggested mothers who vape or wear nicotine patches during pregnancy increase their baby’s risk of cot death. The research found that nicotine in any form may increase the risk of sudden infant death.

Charlie Campbell, from the Association of British Insurers, said: ‘Whilst there is evidence vaping in itself may not be as harmful as traditional cigarettes, current evidence is that the overall life expectancy of vapers is still lower than non-smokers.’

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