Smoking

Smoking remains the main cause of preventable disease and premature deaths in the UK.

Underwriting consideration

Smoker rates are applied to anyone who has smoked any cigarettes (including e-cigarettes), cigars, a pipe, or used nicotine replacements within the last 12 months.

Smoking is regarded as an additional risk factor when underwriting any associated conditions and will usually result in a higher extra premium being charged or even declining the application.

An instant urine test which checks for the presence of Cotinine may be required to check the validity of the answer to the question on the application form. Cotinine is a chemical that is made by the body from nicotine and is an indicator that nicotine has been inhaled or otherwise introduced into the body.

Statistics

Around 10 million adults in the UK smoke cigarettes; 22% of men and 21% of women.

Smoking causes almost 90% of all deaths from lung cancer, 80% of deaths from bronchitis/emphysema and around 17% of deaths from heart disease.

About 1/3 of all cancer deaths can be attributed to smoking.

Smoking cost the NHS approximately £2.7 billion a year for treating diseases caused by smoking.

Further information can be found on the Department for Health's website or on the Action on Smoking and Health website.