E-Cigarettes or Vaping may increase life insurance rates by 100%

Vaping and e-cigarettes can increase your rates for life insurance if you apply with the wrong company. 

Intended to reduce the dependence on cigarette smoking, vaping is a flourishing trend among smokers. 

However, even though vaping has been shown to be significantly less of a health risk when compared to cigarette smoking, life insurance companies often consider the two indistinguishable in regards to risk.

There is one company that will give non-smoker rates if you smoke e-cigarettes, vape or Juul.  Prudential is the go to carrier for vaping as they will classify you as a non-smoker. 

Non-smoker rates will be given for term life insurance or permanent life insurance such as universal life insurance or whole life insurance.  I would also like to mention that Prudential is also a favorite for our clients that smoke pipes, smoke cigars, chew or dip tobacco and even use nicotine patches, nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges. 

The difference between smoker insurance rates and non-smoker insurance rates can be 50% or more. 

See below for a chart of non-smoker plus rates that you may qualify for even if you vape.

What is Vaping? 

The term “vaping” is short for vaporizing.   Cigarette Smoking involves the act of inhaling tobacco smoke, whereas vaping involves the act of inhaling steam or vapor that is created from the heating of a liquid. 

The vaporizer device used, most often called a vapor mod or electronic cigarette (e-cigarette), resembles that of a 21st-century model tobacco pipe.

The primary reason vaping is considered less harmful than cigarette smoking is that the smoker is inhaling a vapor produced from water, rather than smoke.  While the liquid or “e-juice” used in the vaping mods or e-cigarettes contain nicotine, it is typically in lower doses than what is found in cigarettes and typically doesn’t contain many of the dangerous chemicals that is found in cigarette smoke. Furthermore, the option to vape without nicotine is available.

Despite the fact that vaping started in 2007, its popularity has grown to include as many as 10% of active U.S. adult participants.

Clearly, a large part of the attraction to vaping is the fact that it is new, which let’s face it, makes it more exciting. Vaping is showing more favor among younger participants, especially high school and college-level young adults. Another enticing aspect is that vaping is less harmful than cigarette smoking.  However, not everyone believes that vaping is healthier than cigarette smoking and many fear that vaping affects life insurance rates just like cigarette smoking.

Is Vaping Healthier than Cigarettes? 

The most common argument in favor of vaping is that it is healthier than cigarettes.  In spite of the fact that official research disputes this claim, it is not certain exactly which side is correct.  The research that has been conducted is not relatively conclusive because vaping is still new.

When it comes down to it, it matters what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) thinks about vaping, and actually, their opinion is not very high.  The opinion of the FDA is that there is little difference between cigarette smoking and vaping

Despite the fact that cigarette smoking exposes the smoker to 69 carcinogenic compounds, while e-juices (vape juice or vape liquid) contains as little as five and does include some nicotine, the FDA has not approved vaping as an approved smoking cessation program.

Regardless of the opinion of the FDA, there are those professionals within official circles that believe vaping should be seen in a preferred light when compared to tobacco smoking and that it serves as a legitimate smoking cessation program.

Unfortunately, a looming issue is that the vaping industry is highly decentralized.  Multiple small operators manufacture and sell both e-cigarettes and its liquids.  With the absence of standardization, it is extremely difficult to make a unanimous decision for or against the products.  While some devices and juices may be completely safe, there may exist others that pose a harmful threat.

How Do Insurance Companies View Vaping? 

Since the practice of vaping remains relatively new, exactly how life insurance companies treat those who vape is still subject to much debate.  Until recently, companies granted life insurance policies for those that engage in vaping with better ratings and lower premiums than those considered traditional smokers.

However, there exists a “gray zone” that tends to complicate how insurance companies underwrite applicants that choose to vape.  Even though vaping is often marketed as a smoking cessation product, it continues to result in a high incidence of “dual-use” smokers, meaning those who smoke both traditional cigarettes and vape.

This incidence of dual-use results in the majority of life insurance companies to consider vaping the equivalent to traditional smoking.  In other words, it’s all considered smoking, and therefore subject to higher premiums.  In May 2016, the FDA officially classified vaping and related equipment as tobacco, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).  Therefore, vaping is now subject to regulation by the FDA.

What do you do if you Vape and need Life Insurance? 

If you choose to vape and need to purchase life insurance, the best approach is to be completely honest on your application.  Depending on the company that you are considering and their underwriting, you may actually need to indicate yourself as a smoker.  However, there may be ways in which you can indicate on the application that you strictly use a vaping device, rather than smoke tobacco, provided that you are not a dual user.  Some life insurance companies provide definitions in regards to the vaping device user’s cigarette smoking history.  For example, you may be able to indicate that you have not smoked a cigarette in a specified amount of time.

It is imperative that you are completely truthful regarding your smoking history, whether it’s via cigarettes or e-cigarettes.  Insurance companies may order tests such as blood, saliva, and urine analysis, in order to verify your tobacco usage.  These laboratory tests can show whether nicotine is present in your body and whether the source is actual cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

Prudential Stands out In the Crowd 

We have found that like with other social issues, Prudential appears to take a liberal stance on their underwriting guidelines regarding vaping. They stand out in the crowd by not automatically rating e-cigarette users as smokers. In fact, Prudential will allow a person who vapes with nicotine or marijuana infrequently to be rated as a non-smoker. Here is an example of rates for Prudential’s 20-year term product.

Prudential 20 year term rates for E-Cigarette users

Insurance AmountAge 30Age 40Age 50Age 60
$250,000$31.73$36.53$81.45$186.81
$500,000$45.56$65.63$155.25$366.19
$1,000,000$76.56$121.19$292.05$704.81

Unfortunately, applying for life insurance when you utilize only a vaping device can be more complicated than other smoking instances.  If you consider yourself a strict user of a vaping device and need to purchase life insurance, contact an insurance professional so that they can place you with the most “vape-friendly” insurance company available.

Vaping and tobacco use in any form can double your life insurance premium.  Keep in mind that health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and heart disease can also be a factor in rates for life insurance.  These have also been reasons for applicants to be declined for life insurance.

 

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