8 April 2013 0 Comments

More Smoke

smoking cigarIn my last entry you got an idea of the huge increase in life insurance premium for tobacco users.  I explained how cigarette smoking is defined.  Now I’ll move on to other tobacco products as well as one additional smoking event that is not tobacco: marijuana.


Cigar smokers very often insist that they don’t inhale.  That line will not convince an insurance company underwriter to issue a non-tobacco user premium.  If cotenine shows up in the urine specimen, you will be rated as a tobacco user.  It takes about 4-7 days of total abstinence from any use of nicotine for the urine to be clear of cotenine.

What about the occasional celebratory cigar, or the once-a-week stogie with the boys following a round of golf?  Depending on the number smoked per week and cotenine-free urine on the insurance exam, several insurance companies will issue non-tobacco user premiums.  A regular, daily user of cigars, however, will most likely be hit with the tobacco user charges just like a cigarette smoker.


Most pipe smokers are usually regular users.  They will not be cotenine free and therefore most likely treated like a cigarette smoker.  However, at least one insurance company would consider non-tobacco user premiums assuming cotenine-free urine.

Chewing Tobacco and Snuff

Regular users of these products will be rated as tobacco users.

Nicotine Gum

Many people use nicotine gum as an aid to kicking the habit.  Its use will usually cease within a year, but they won’t be eligible for non-tobacco user premiums until one year following discontinuance of the use of the gum.  As with pipe smokers, however, there is at least one insurance company that might be willing to consider non-tobacco user premiums even for a current chewer of nicotine gum.

How do they know?

Presence of cotenine in the urine will alert the insurance company of current use of nicotine products.  Second- hand-smoke will not trigger a positive cotenine level, so don’t bother using that as an excuse if you get caught.

As for the length of time since cessation of use, here is a typical question on an insurance application that must be answered:

Mark the one item that best describes your history of tobacco and other nicotine product use:

__Never used; __Totally stopped;__Use now.

If stopped, indicate number of years stopped and give date and reason in remarks:

__Less than 1 year

__At least 1 year, but less than 2 years

__At least 2 years, but less than 3 years

__At least 3 years, but less than 5 years

__5 years or more

Your medical records will also likely be checked to see if mention has been made by the attending physician regarding use.

Remember, that if questions on the application are not answered honestly, the insurance company could contest a death claim during the first two years of the policy.

Notice that the above application question does not reference marijuana, only tobacco and nicotine products, so that’s where I go next time—marijuana.

Leave a Reply