The Smokers Dilemma
Friday, January 31, 2014

It is estimated around 3 million Australians adult smokes cigarettes on a daily basis. The highest rate being among men in the 18-24 years of age group (34%) followed closely by women between 25-34 years of age (27%). Read more     (link details below)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 

It is estimated around 3 million Australians adult smokes cigarettes on a daily basis. The highest rate being among men in the 18-24 years of age group (34%) followed closely by women between 25-34 years of age (27%).

The tax revenue generated from smoking does not cover the significant burden on our health care and social systems which, in 2004-2005, was estimated to be a staggering $31 billion in Australia alone. We know that:

  • On average, smoking reduces life expectancy by 7-8 years. Each cigarette shortens the life of the smoker by 8 minutes. 
  • Around 19,000 deaths in Australia are cased by tobacco each year. That’s 52 a day. 
  • 50% of Australians who die from smoking die before the age of 70. 

 When it comes to smoking and disease, research shows:

  • Smokers are 10 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers. For heavy smoker this risk increases to 15 to 25 times. 
  • 85% of all male cases and 77% of female cases of lung cancer are related to smoking 
  • Smoking has also been linked to cancers of the mouth, bladder, kidney, stomach respiratory tract, liver pancreas and cervix. 
  • Smoking is a key risk factor for stroke and heart disease because tobacco toxins disrupt the blood supply and also contribute to the hardening of the arteries. 
  • It is also a contributing factor in contracting gastric and duodenal ulceration, Crohn’s disease and osteoporosis. 

 From the point of view of an underwriter, a smoker is defined as someone who regularly smokes or has smoked tobacco or any other substance within the last 12 months or used nicotine replacement therapy within the last three months. Social smoking fits into this definition.

 A non smoker is defined as someone who has smoked tobacco or any other substance within the last 12months or used nicotine replacement therapy within the last three months.

 Mortality rates for pipe and cigar smokers are nearer those of cigarette smokers than non smokers. For this reason many manufacturers are now using a smoking definition that covers any tobacco use as opposed to cigarettes only. 

While it depends on the ages of the life insured and the cover they require, smokers can expect their premiums to be loaded by between +30% and +150%. While it might seem extreme, the additional premium is necessary to cover the proven increase mortality and mobility risk associated with smoking. Heavy smokers (defined as someone who smokes more than 30 cigarettes per day) can expect their premiums to be loaded further still.