Written by Jennifer Stevenson
1st May 2019

Tobacco company launches life insurance with discounts for ex smokers

Here’s a turn-up for the books… A company which sells the kind of products that cause 78,000 deaths a year, according to the NHS (that’s the entire population of Chester disappearing every Christmas) is now going to sell life insurance to smokers.

And offer them significant discounts if they give up smoking. Or… switch to one of the company’s alternative tobacco-related products.

Life insurance for smokers is a very healthy market for insurers: premiums are commonly a third higher for a 30-year-old smoker, and may be doubled for 50-year-old smokers.

Smokers-turned-insurers

Tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI), famous for brands such as Marlboro, Parliament and Virginia Slims, is launching a UK life insurance company which will offer significant discounts to smokers who quit, or switch to one of its alternative products.

“No one expects you to be perfect,” says the company’s website.

Reviti life insurance claims it is “Bringing life back into life insurance.”

Smokers can reportedly cut their premiums by as much as 50% if they quit smoking and other nicotine alternatives, like vaping.

Discounts for using the company’s cigarette alternatives

Smokers who have already switched from smoking to using e-cigaretttes get just a 2.5% discount.

But the policy feature which is attracting a lot of controversy is the 25% discounting for cigarette smokers who switch to PMI’s “heat-not-burn” vape-alternative product iQOS.

Marketed as a “smokeless alternative,” heat-not-burn devices use a heating element to release nicotine from a tobacco cartridge. It’s claimed that research shows this releases few cancer-causing chemicals than cigarettes.

Heat-not-burn as a smoking substitute

Advisers to the US health regulator the Food and Drug Administration say that studies show the devices can still damage the lungs. Heat-not-burn products are not recommended by health authorities for smokers who are trying to quit.

But if it’s going to make you feel good grabbing a discount on life insurance from a company that may have helped to make you ill, this could be the choice for you.

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