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“It is just not fair,” said Linda Bauld, professor of health policy at Stirling University. “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.”

“It is just not fair. 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.”Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy, Stirling University.

Last year Public Health England famously announced that e-cigarettes would be endorsed as harm reduction and smoking cessation tools, as a study by the Royal College of Physicians in London (RCP) indicated that the devices are at least 95% safer than regular cigarettes. However, insurance companies have not adjusted their premiums to reflect this

Bearing in mind that life insurance premiums for smokers cost as much as double the amount they do for non-smokers, Bauld finds this “fundamentally wrong”. “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,” she added.

Most vapers unaware that they will pay more

Presently, there are approximately three million vapers in the UK, many of which are not even aware that they will be paying higher insurance premiums than non-smokers. In fact a survey of over 500 vapers conducted last March by BoughtByMany.com found that :

  • 43% of vapers not aware their insurance premiums may be affected by vaping
  • 85% believe that vapers should not pay the same premium as smokers
  • 77% say that vaping actively helped them stop smoking
  • 61% believe that vaping over smoking has improved their health
Presently, there are approximately three million vapers in the UK, many of which are not even aware that they will be paying higher insurance premiums than non-smokers.
Bauld thinks that vapers should be paying the same premiums as non-smokers, and Andy Morrison, from New Nicotine Alliance seems to agree.“Vapers are being fleeced by insurance companies,” he said, adding, “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. They are using this as an excuse to keep premiums high for no good reason.”

Insurance companies call this a complex issue

However, most insurance companies insist that the benefits of swapping cigarettes for e-cigarettes have not been fully proven. “Insurers always look to take account of new medical knowledge and thinking and always look to offer cover rather than look for ways to turn people down,” said Malcolm Tarling, a spokesman for the Association of British Insurers. He added that this is a complex issue. “The negative health aspects of smoking are well documented and can stay with people for many years after they stop. Any insurer has to take people’s previous smoking habits into account when issuing cover.”

More info : Sunday Post