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Is Vaping Classed as Smoking for Life Insurance?

Last updated: 28/07/2023 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Vaping is seen as less harmful than cigarettes and is often used by smokers to help them quit their habit. However, that doesn’t mean that vaping is ignored completely by life insurance providers. In fact, in most cases, vaping will likely impact your life insurance policy in a similar way to smoking.

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about vaping and taking out life insurance. We’ll explore the ways that life insurance can be affected by vaping, cover what you need to tell your insurer, and answer some frequently asked questions.

In This Guide:

Does Vaping Count as Smoking?

Vaping is different from smoking. Conventional cigarettes with tobacco produce smoke which is then inhaled, whereas e-cigarettes contain a special e-liquid that can be breathed in as a vapour. However, when it comes to your health, vaping still has a negative effect on your body, meaning you may still be considered a smoker in a medical setting if you have used any kind of nicotine replacement products or tobacco in the last 12 months.

Will Vaping Affect My Life Insurance?

In most cases, vaping will affect your life insurance in the same way that smoking does. This is because life insurers will see you as having an increased risk of developing a serious illness or dying prematurely. Most people who vape will pay higher life insurance premiums and may be limited in the type of policy they can take out.

Do I Need to Tell My Life Insurance that I Vape?

Yes, it’s important to be honest with your life insurance provider about your vaping or smoking habit. Failing to disclose details like this can result in your life insurance being invalidated when you become ill or die. This could leave your beneficiaries with less money or even no money, which would make taking out a life insurance policy a waste of time. It benefits everyone involved if you’re upfront from the beginning.

Details your life insurance provider may need to know include:

  • Whether you smoke conventional cigarettes, vape, or use nicotine replacement products
  • How long you’ve been smoking or vaping
  • Any smoking or vaping-related health issues you have or have had in the past
  • Other habits that could affect your health (e.g. level of physical activity, alcohol consumption)

Most of these questions will be covered when you take out life insurance, but if you begin vaping or smoking after taking out a policy, you will still need to inform your provider. Most life insurance agreements require you to disclose any significant changes to your health or habits, which includes using e-cigarettes or smoking.

Will Quitting Smoking or Vaping Lower My Life Insurance Premiums?

If you stop smoking cigarettes or vaping, not only will you reap numerous health benefits, but your life insurance premiums may reduce. However, the effect will not be immediate and you may need to wait 12 months before your life insurance provider will consider you to be a non-smoker.

Once you’re confident you have stopped using all nicotine products, you can contact your life insurance company to inform them of your lifestyle change. Some providers will require a medical exam or doctor’s note to confirm you are no longer vaping or smoking.

In some situations, you will need to switch to a new life insurance policy rather than amend the one you currently have. Your provider will be able to help you explore all your options so that you can make an informed decision.

How Long After I Quit Smoking and Vaping Am I Considered a ‘Non-Smoker’?

To be considered a non-smoker, you will have to stop using all types of tobacco and nicotine for at least 12 months. This includes any kind of smoking, whether with a conventional or e-cigarette, as well as nicotine replacement products such as gum and patches.

You should also be mindful of breathing in cigarette smoke if you live with or spend a lot of time around smokers. Breathing in second-hand smoke, also known as passive smoking, can have similar long-term effects to being a smoker yourself. This means that despite quitting smoking, your medical tests may still indicate adverse health effects, keeping your life insurance premiums at a higher level.

Is Using Nicotine Patches Better Than E-Cigarettes for Life Insurance?

While inhaling tobacco smoke is seen as worse for your health than both e-cigarettes and nicotine patches, life insurance providers are unlikely to look upon any nicotine use as particularly favourable. Nicotine in any form has negative effects on your health and increases your risk of various illnesses, so your premiums are unlikely to decrease unless you quit using it completely.

What About Vaping Without Nicotine?

If you vape without nicotine, you may benefit from lower premiums, but this will depend on the terms of your life insurance policy. Many life insurance medical questionnaires will focus on the use of nicotine, in which case you may not be considered a smoker. However, if your provider specifically asks about your use of e-cigarettes or tobacco, you may still pay a higher premium. Just be as honest as possible when answering any medical questions and ask your provider for clarification if it’s needed.

Why Do Life Insurance Providers Not Reward People Switching to Vaping from Smoking?

At the moment, there isn’t enough research on the potential long-term consequences of vaping, so we can’t be sure exactly what effect it’s having on people’s health. As a result, life insurers can’t accurately assess the risk it poses and have to charge higher premiums since life insurance is a long-term investment for most people. As researchers discover more about the effects of vaping on the human body, life insurers may change their approach to it as well.

Can I Get Life Insurance While Smoking or Vaping?

Yes, there are many life insurance policies available to people who smoke or vape. However, you will need to disclose this information and you will likely pay a higher premium as a result. You may be able to lower your premiums by improving other aspects of your health or changing the type of cover you’re planning to take out. For more information about different types of life insurance, get in touch with the team here at Money Expert and begin your journey.

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