Electronic cigarettes, commonly known as e-cigs, are one of the fastest growing trends in the tobacco industry. They are very popular with those who are trying to quit smoking cigarettes, and every year the number of smokers in the U.S. declines. While e-cigarettes are poised to outsell tobacco products within the decade, they are still a relatively new product and there is not enough research behind them.
The FDA has not formally endorsed e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to cigarettes, but they are generally considered safer than tobacco products because they don’t burn and it’s the tobacco smoke that is most harmful. However, the product has not been around long enough for in-depth research on the long-term effects and the life insurance industry rates the usage accordingly.
Completing a medical exam is one step in purchasing life insurance and nicotine can be traced from the urine sample. If the life insurance company sees nicotine in the exam findings, the applicant will be classified as a tobacco user. There are nicotine-free e-cigarettes cartridges, but at this time the life insurance industry is still hesitant on ruling them out of the smoker class. Because of insufficient evidence, the industry does not know if vapor inhalation from e-cigarettes causes health problems or not. However, some insurance companies will give non-smoking rates to those who use vapor-based e-cigarettes versus heat-based.
What if I am just using e-cigs to quit smoking and rarely use them?
If you have been using e-cigarettes to quit smoking and no longer smoke regular cigarettes and also rarely use e-cigarettes, disclose in your application that you seldom use them. If no traces of nicotine show up in your urine sample, there is a chance you would be qualified for non-smoker life insurance rates.
E-cigs have not been around long enough for in-depth research on the long-term effects and the life insurance industry rates the usage accordingly.
What if I quit smoking, including e-cigs, but already have a policy with smoker premiums?
If you have quit smoking altogether, including using e-cigarettes, but already have life insurance and are paying smoker rates, you should inform your insurance carrier. If you have been smoke-free for at least 12 months, there is a good chance your premium costs would decrease. Your age does come into play when you reapply though so the sooner you quit the better your chances of cheaper life insurance. You could even try re-applying through an independent agency like Quotacy that works with multiple life insurance carriers to see if you can find premiums cheaper than what you’re currently paying.
What if I just don’t disclose on my application that I sometimes use e-cigs?
If it turns out that you lied about tobacco use on an application, the life insurance company can penalize you by reducing your death benefit to what your premiums would be paying for on a smoker-rated policy.
Photo credit to: Lindsay Fox
About the writer
Marketing Content and Social Media Manager
Natasha is a content manager and editor for Quotacy. She has worked in the life insurance industry since 2010, and making life insurance easier to understand with her writing since 2014. When not at work, you can find her throwing a tennis ball for her pit bull mix, Emmett, or curled up on her couch watching Netflix. If it’s football season, the Packers game will be on. Connect with her on LinkedIn.