e-Cigarette Users May Now Pay More for Insurance
Life insurers have responded to reports of more illnesses and deaths caused by e-cigarettes by raising premiums for those who use the devices. Insurers have previously allowed e-cigarette users to pay less for life insurance but are now charging them the same premiums paid by tobacco smokers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Oct. 9 that the number of confirmed and probable cases linked to vaping increased to 1,299, including 26 deaths. The vaping patients suffered injuries to their lungs that some researchers have compared with the mustard-gas exposures that damaged the lungs of soldiers during World War I. Doctors say it is too early to know if those who had the illness will suffer long-term impacts.
Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, said that the amount of statistical data is insufficient to establish whether e-cigarettes are as harmful as traditional cigarettes, noting that it took two or three decades to make connections between smoking and certain illnesses.
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said that the widespread media attention is unfair to the e-cigarette industry and that the illnesses and deaths could be linked almost exclusively to illicit and contaminated THC, or marijuana, cartridges.