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How Smoking Impacts Your Life and Pocket

Smokers are likely to pay much more for an insurance policy to cover their treatment costs.

November 04, 2020 / 08:08 PM IST

Smoking can harm you in more ways than one. Cigarette smoking is associated with poor life quality and several comorbidities. As a result, insurance companies are also cautious about issuing insurance plans to smokers and often charge them a higher premium as compared to non-smokers for the same cover.

Impact of Smoking on Your Health

The World Health Organization identifies tobacco as the leading cause of death, illness and impoverishment in the world. [1] Statistics by the agency indicate that tobacco kills up to half of its users. Tobacco products in India include bidis, conventional cigarettes, and smokeless products like gutka and paan.

Every year, smoking kills over one million people in India. [2] It is one of the leading causes of non-communicable diseases (NCD) like cancer and heart diseases, accounting for 53 per cent of all deaths in India. The number of smokers in the country stood at 28.6% of the total adult population in 2016-17, according to the Global Adults Tobacco Survey (GATS). [3]

By simple logic, this large chunk of people is at risk of cardiovascular diseases, oral and lung cancer. If this isn't reason enough to compel you against tobacco use, here is some additional information to consider:

● Tobacco contains several harmful chemicals, including nicotine that reaches the brain in 10 to 20 seconds after the smoke is inhaled. [4] It is a highly addictive substance with adverse health effects like increased blood pressure, heart rate and hardening of the arteries over time.
● Cigarette smoke contains about 70 carcinogens that lead to cell damage and abnormal cell growth. [5] The incidence of lung cancer is the highest in cigarette smokers. [6]
● Smoking also affects the immune system by causing oxidative stress. Smoking makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to reduced lung capacity and more chances of transmission from hand to mouth.

● Smokers are more susceptible to strokes than non-smokers. [7]

The Link Between Smoking and Life Insurance

Besides affecting your health, smoking also impacts your pocket. Smokers are also likely to pay much more for a health insurance policy to cover their treatment costs, or even a term life cover to ensure the welfare of their family in case of an unfortunate death. Life insurance companies often charge lower premiums to non-smokers on their term insurance plans. Besides, healthy individuals can sign up for term insurance plans without any time-consuming medical tests as per the terms and conditions mentioned in the respective product.

However, despite the higher costs, having insurance is even more crucial if you smoke. Considering you are more at risk for strokes and certain types of cancer due to this habit, a term insurance plan will enable your family to maintain their lifestyle and meet their goals, even in your absence.

However, even if you have used tobacco/nicotine in any other form,, you would be classified as a smoker for the purpose of your insurance plan. Insurers don't differentiate between occasional and frequent smokers, offering low rates to non-smokers only.  You can enquire with your insurer to reduce the premium of an existing plan after you have quit smoking if the terms and conditions of your policy allows this.

It must be noted that it is essential to disclose your smoking habits to the insurer to prevent any risk of rejection of your claim. Your term insurance benefits may also be rendered null and void if the insurer discovers that you had lied or there has been a material non-disclosure at the time of  entering into the policy contract.

If you are looking at purchasing a term plan, you may consider Bajaj Allianz Life Smart Protect Goal – A non linked, non participating, pure life term insurance plan by Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance which offers a cover of Rs 1 crore at a premium as low as Rs 18 per day*. Not only that, you could avail a discount of 3 per cent^ on the premium if you purchase it online on the Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance website. The plan covers 55 critical illnesses$ including cancer and heart ailments, and offers a number of add-on features. To ensure that the children don’t suffer in case of the unfortunate death of the policyholder, the plan comes with a variant that provides extra protection for the child’s educational expense as a child cover$

Quit Cigarettes for a Better Life

By kicking your smoking habit today, you will see increased blood oxygen levels within a day, and in a few months, your energy levels and overall health will improve. You can even check for a reduction in insurance premium if you have been off cigarettes with your insurer as per the policy terms and conditions.

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*Above illustration is considering Male aged 25 years | Non-Smoker | Life Cover Variant | Policy term (PT)– 30 years | Premium Payment Term (PPT) – 30 years | Sum Assured opted is Rs. 1,00,00,000 | Online Channel | Annual Premium Payment Mode | Premium shown above is exclusive of Goods & Service Tax/any other applicable tax levied, subject to changes in tax laws, and any extra premium and is for illustrative purpose only. For more details on risk factors, terms and conditions please read sales brochure & policy document (available on carefully before concluding a sale.

^Discount is available for regular premium and limited premium payment frequency under all variants of this product.

$Product feature/benefit mentioned above are dependent on variant

Tags: #Features
first published: Nov 3, 2020 04:30 pm
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