The use of e-cigarettes will potentially impact the cost of premiums for underwritten policies.
According to research a substantial number of Australians have tried and in some instances continue to use e-cigarettes.
As a result of this, insurance underwriters are more likely to consider the disclosed use of e-cigarettes when assessing an application.
What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes have been around since the 1960s. They are a battery powered, electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS). Rather than burning the tobacco leaves they heat a liquid to create an inhalable vapour. This is known as ‘vaping’.
After considering the information available at this time, one insurance provider is reviewing its forms and underwriting guidelines to include e-cigarettes.
There is also a review being undertaken regarding the underwriting approach in relation to nicotine gum and patch use.
What Cancer Council Queensland says.
‘Cancer Council has warned Queenslanders not to use e-cigarettes, with new data showing a significant increase in poisoning cases in Queensland, especially in young children.
The Queensland Poisons Information Centre recorded a significant increase in poisoning cases related to e-cigarettes containing nicotine and liquid nicotine products in 2013.
The majority of e-cigarette poisoning cases occurred in children between two and five years of age.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said e-cigarettes were a significant threat to public health and backed the WHO’s call for tough regulation of their sale and use.
“Electronic cigarettes, those containing nicotine, and those containing substances other than nicotine, have not been tested for quality, safety or performance by the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” Ms Clift said.
“Nicotine is classified by law as a dangerous poison – e-cigarette nicotine is illegal in Australia and has not been deemed safe for use by medical experts and health authorities.’
E-cigarette use in Australia
‘A recent update from The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project4 (ITC Project) highlighted that as at 2013, an estimated 66 per cent of Australian smokers had heard of e-cigarettes, 20 per cent had tried them and seven per cent continued to use them.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), an estimated 3.1 million Australian adults were ‘current smokers’ during 2011-12.
Extrapolating from the ITC Project’s results, around 620,000 Australian smokers had tried e-cigarettes in 2013 and 217,000 were still using them.
(Directly quoted from An Insurance risk perspective on e-cigarettes, Oct 2014, comminsure.force.com)
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au