E-cigarettes use a liquid-filled cartridge that is vaporized into a mist or vapour that is breathed into the lungs. They come in different flavours, such as mint and vanilla. Despite being smokeless, some flavours still deliver pure nicotine.
E-cigarettes are so new that many insurance companies have not anticipated them in their smoking questions. What are the life insurance implications for people who choose to use e-cigarettes?
Here is a typical question on an insurance application:
Have you smoked cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, pipe, shisha/hookah, or used chewing tobacco, a nicotine patch, Nicorette chewing gum, or any other smoking cessation products – marijuana, hashish, betel nuts or snuff, or used tobacco in any other form?
It would appear that e-cigarette users could answer “no” to the above question, as e-cigarettes do not apply to any of the above scenarios – as long as you are not using it as a “smoking cessation” product (i.e. you were a smoker prior to using).
The truth is that these devices can influence your life insurance costs considerably. All insurance companies consider the use of e-cigarettes as cigarette smoking, and the premiums that you pay will reflect that. Even if you did answer “no” to the question above, your blood or urine test will reveal that you have ingested nicotine. A denied life insurance application will likely result.
These nicotine filled cartridges are generally only available online or at flea markets, as Health Canada has not authorized their sale in stores. Amongst various concerns is that their safety and quality has not been confirmed according to Health Canada.
Related questions on life insurance applications are currently being adjusted to make it more clear in the future.
To give you a better idea of the increased insurance rates for smokers, here are the rates for a normal healthy 40-year-old:
Monthly Cost of Insurance Coverage
1Best price at May 8th 2014 for a ten year term policy standard health male age 40
2Best price at May 8th 2014 for a ten year policy standard health male age 40
3Manulife Venture May 8th 2014 with a 90 day elimination period payable to age 65 male age 40