Life Insurance and Tobacco Use
If you are a smoker, you may be fully aware that smokers pay up to three times the rates that non-smokers pay for life insurance. What you may not realize, however is that there are many different types of tobacco products that can affect your life insurance rates. Chain cigarette smokers will obviously pay a higher premium because their risk for lung disease and heart disease are higher. But, what about those who use chewing tobacco or smoke an occasional cigar? How can your life insurance rates be affected if you use tobacco in ways other than cigarette smoking?
Chewing Tobacco and Life Insurance
At one time, insurance businesses skipped over chewing tobacco use and didn’t even consider it when determining insurance premium rates. This is no longer the case. Any tobacco product from gum to cigarettes must be disclosed. Though chewing tobacco is not as damaging to the lungs as a cigar or cigarette, it is linked to many oral and throat cancers. Rates may be less, however, as some companies look at the reduced risk of lung disease or heart disease.
Cigars, Pipes, and Life Insurance
The same is true with cigars and pipes. Many cigar smokers only indulge in a cigar or two a week. Pipe smokers tend to smoke less than a cigarette smoker. To an insurance company, this lower risk can entitle a person to a reduced premium. It goes without saying, however, that cigar and pipe smokers generally smoke cigarettes as well.
There is a recent change of heart with insurance companies towards pipe and cigar smokers. While some companies still extend discounts to the less frequent smokers, not every company does. A lot of this stems from the fact that many cigar and pipe smokers are also cigarette smokers. Why extend a discount when the other tobacco form is being used? The other issue is that cigars and pipe smoke often contain far more tar and carcinogens than one cigarette.
Cigarettes and Life Insurance
On average, a cigarette contains less than one gram of tobacco while a pipe usually contains three grams and a cigar contains upwards of twenty. Realistically, one cigar is then equal to 20 cigarettes. In addition, the tobacco is usually more alkaline in these forms. This increases your cancer risk. Chewing tobacco may not bring smoke into your lungs, but the tobacco sits in your mouth. Oral cancers are extremely prevalent among chewing tobacco users, gum disease and rotting teeth are other side effects. Chewing tobacco is also linked to high blood pressure, cracked lips and gums and stroke risk.
Chewing tobacco, pipes and cigars are just as deadly as cigarettes in many cases. This is what many insurance companies now look at. What you use can be just as harmful as how much you use. As such, life insurance companies will make you pay more in order to cover the increased risk.