Will the FDA's e-cig rules change insurers' attitudes?


Chris Walters

Chris Walters

Blog author Chris Walters

Chris Walters writes for Policygenius, a digital insurance brokerage trying to make sense of insurance for consumers. He previously wrote for The Consumerist.

Published May 1, 2014 | 1 min read

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Earlier this year we wrote about how life insurers classified e-cigarettes in terms of risk. For all but a few insurers, vaping was lumped in with traditional tobacco use and meant higher premiums. But that was before the FDA's new rules about e-cigarettes were released. Will anything change?

It's unlikely, at least not in the short term. The new rules, which go into effect later this year (and will be rolled out over the next two years), essentially bring e-cigarette regulation in line with traditional tobacco products:

  • sales are restricted to persons over age 18

  • products must carry a warning that nicotine is addictive

  • manufacturers can't provide free samples

  • some words and phrases must be approved before they can be used in advertising

  • manufacturers must register their products with the FDA and seek pre-approval before introducing new products

  • manufacturers must report ingredients to the FDA

With these rules in place, the FDA can begin to collect data to determine whether or not e-cigarettes pose a health risk similar to traditional tobacco products, or whether they have the potential to serve as smoking cessation tools, which some insurers take a kinder view of.But that decision is probably years away, which means for now, life insurance companies have been given no reason to change how they look at e-cig usage when underwriting a new policy.The good news is you still have options if you're an e-cig user. Be sure to read our previous post where we ask an underwriter how to find the best rate when shopping for life insurance.Photo: Terry Ozon