The growth in e-cigarette use in Ireland over the past few years has been phenomenal, with vaping kiosks notable in high streets and shopping centres. There is concern that users of these devices and their loved ones might suffer potentially damaging effects by using them as a substitute for nicotine.

The following conditions apply to the 6 main Life Insurers in Ireland:

  • Aviva Life & Pensions and New Ireland Assurance classify users as non-smokers, provided they have not smoked any other form of tobacco in the previous 12 months.
  • Friends First, Irish Life and Royal London classifies users as smokers.
  • Zurich Life applies a 50% loading to users who do not smoke any other form of tobacco and have not done so in the previous 12 months.

Life insurance companies are not alone in having different positions around vaping. The international experience of policing e-cigarettes by governments has been equally different:

  • The USA treats them on a par with tobacco products with heavy taxation and advertising restrictions.
  • Australia has banned their sales but with loopholes for importation from abroad.
  • Brazil has imposed a complete ban on sales and advertising.
  • The UK researched the health implications of e-cigarettes and Public Health England [PHE] issued a report in August 2015 stating the use of e-cigarettes is 95% less harmful than tobacco products. In January 2016 the UK Medicines and Healthcare Product Regulatory Authority [MHRA] granted a licence to British American Tobacco for its e-Voke device which allows e-Voke to me marketed and sold as a smoking cessation aid.
  • In Ireland, there is no outright ban but the Department of Health has concerns and intends introducing legislation to regulate e-cigarettes.
  • The EU is currently introducing the ‘Tobacco Products Directive’ which includes the following measures:
    • Safety Regulations on e-cigarette equipment and liquids
    • Strict rules on advertising
    • Ingredient listings and a warning that nicotine is an addictive substance
    • E-liquid bottles a maximum of 10mg
    • E-liquids with a maximum nicotine content of 20mg per ml

Make sure you declare e-cigarette use when applying for life cover, just in case.