Should Smokers Pay A Higher Insurance Premium?

Recently, I read an article that suggested that, maybe, smokers should pay a higher premium for health insurance. I decided to do some research and see what the risk factors of smoking are. In the process of doing so, I came across some fascinating data.

Smoking and obesity (being fat) risk factors are very similiiar.

Based on my visits to many websites, these are some of the possible risk factors listed for smoking and obesity (or being overweight).


Cigarette Smoking

In Adults

Heart Disese
High Blood Pressure
Stroke
Cancer
High Cholesterol
Chronic lung diseases
Emphysema
Premature Aging
Shortness of Breath
Artherosclerosis
Lower Sex Drive
Erectile dysfunction
Low Sperm Count
Infertility
Sinus Problems
Pneumonia
Vision Problems
Dental Problems

In Pregnant Women

Low weight babies
Miscarriages
Premature Delivery
SIDS

In Children
Asthma
Bronchitis
Pneumonia
Inner Ear Problems
Impaired pulmonary function

Obesity/Being Overweight

In Adults

Heart Disease
High Blood Pressure
Stroke
Cancer
High Cholesterol
Joint Problems
Osteoarthritis
Gallbladder Disease
Fatty Liver
Asthma
Breathlessness
Snoring
Sleep Apnea
Depression
Excessive Sweating
Infertility
Low Sex Drive
Erectile dysfunction
Vision Problems
Dental Problems

In Pregnant Women

Abnormalities of the baby’s growth,
Pre-eclampsia
Gestational diabetes
Cesarean delivery
Postpartum Infection
Postnatal Depression

In Children

Orthopedic Problems
Diabetes
Skin disorders
Psychological / Psychiatric Issues
Rejection or Teasing
Depression


So, back to the question, should smokers pay a higher insurance premium? Or, should the same hold true for fat (obese) individuals? What do you think?

The following websites have great information on both of these issues

American Obesity Association
National Cancer Institute
American Heart Association

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4 Responses to Should Smokers Pay A Higher Insurance Premium?

  1. A says:

    Obesity is less of a choice than smoking is. A significant amount of individuals who suffer from obesity problems can trace its causes back to various health problems and genetic disorders. Smoking on the other hand, is a choice. Smokers make the choice to take a risk when they light a cigarette. It is well researched and documented that smoking can severely compromise the smoker’s health. This is beside the point, but smoking can often times cause those in close proximity irreversible health damage due to second hand smoke. So no, obesity and smoking should not be classified in the same categories when contemplating insurance policies.

  2. DL says:

    I so disagree with the above comment! Just as a smoker makes a choice when they light a cigarette so does the overweight/obese person make a choice when they open their mouths and insert food.
    Genetics may play a small role in obesity but food comsumption is the main cause. Combine food with little or no activity and the pounds will add up quickly making it nearly impossible for any physical activity. Yes smoking does compromise a persons health and obesity does just as severe a compromise. So why should a smoker pay more than the obese person who has yet to learn how to close their mouths and go for a walk?

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