Every six seconds, somewhere in the world, a person dies from tobacco use (1). Tobacco kills one third of all people who smoke, and it takes the life of one out of every ten adults on the planet (2).
The World Health Organization considers cigarettes to be an object, just like a syringe, through which users consume a highly addictive substance—nicotine. Its effects on health are so wide and devastating that smoking is now considered a global epidemic.
5.4 million people die each year (3) from smoking-related conditions, among which are lung cancer and coronary disease. By 2030, it is estimated that the number of victims could reach 8 million. Shockingly, tobacco use is the risk factor responsible for 6-8 of the world’s main causes of death.
In the life insurance market, smoking also has a price. Premiums are higher for smokers. For some reinsurance companies, the definition of a smoker extends to those who use other nicotine products, such as chewing gum or patches. In addition, there are other risk factors linked to customers who smoke:
  • If they are chronic smokers.
  • If they have developed smoking-related complications, such as Obstructive Lung Disease.
  • If smoking complicates other medical conditions.
1. WHO (World Health Organization) – Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008.
2. Ibid, pg 14.
3. Ibid, 10 Facts on the tobacco epidemic and global tobacco control.