• May 26, 2024

Insurance “rip-off”

 Insurance “rip-off”

Insurance companies are still hitting electronic-cigarette users with a ‘smoker’s surcharge’ despite mounting reports that indicate vaping is far less dangerous than is smoking tobacco, according to a story by Russell Blackstock for The Sunday Post, Scotland.

Although recent government-backed studies have found that vaping e-cigarettes is 95 percent less harmful than smoking cigarettes, life insurers take the view that a puff on a cigarette is identical to a puff on a vaping device. And life insurance premiums are often twice as expensive for smokers as they are for non-smokers.

Linda Bauld, professor of health policy at Scotland’s Stirling University, believes that classing people who use e-cigarettes as being the same as smokers is “fundamentally wrong”.

“It is just not fair,” she reportedly told the Sunday Post. “As well as being financially punitive to people who vape, it can also send negative messages to those who want to stop smoking. It is not helpful.

“If vapers are regarded as being the same as tobacco smokers it could lead to an attitude of ‘why bother’ and before you know it they are back at the corner shop buying cigarettes.”

People who vape and don’t use combustible tobacco products should be treated the same as non-smokers by insurance companies, Bauld added.

It is estimated that about three million people in the UK are now using vaping devices.

Many don’t realise they will pay up to twice as much as non-smokers for life or critical illness insurances.

Meanwhile, Andy Morrison, Scottish lead advocate for the vaping organization the New Nicotine Alliance, said the practice by insurance companies was a “rip-off”.

“Vapers are being fleeced by insurance companies,” he said.

“It is ridiculous that insurers are still conflating combustible tobacco and vaping products despite all the evidence from bodies such as Public Health England that vaping is far less harmful than smoking.”