Evaporated into Thin Air: Unseen Effects of Vaping on Health Insurance

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Among many of the world’s new inventions, e-cigarettes have become a new craze. A recent article from Reuters reported that roughly 1 in 20 Americans are currently vaping or using e-cigarettes. Many people believe that this is completely healthy. It certainly sounds innocuous enough. It’s just vapor right? But what are the effects of vaping? Can smoking e-cigarettes or using a vape pen negatively affect your health? Could this someday be listed as a potential risk factor on health insurance applications? We discuss below. 

Statistics

The most recent statistics from the CDC tell us that roughly 38 million Americans were considered smokers in 2016. This actually showed a 5% decline from the year before. In terms of why, there could be several reasons. We would like to think that people are making the choice to be healthier. After all, we know the many health risks of smoking. It is reasonable to conclude that many people have decided to switch to the “healthier” habit of vaping instead. However, have we really explored the effects of vaping? Can it be harmful? 

What is Vaping?

To understand the effects of vaping, we need to start with the basics. According to the Surgeon General’s website, “e-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales.” This is a problem because these tiny particles get inhaled deep into the lungs and leave behind residue. And although what the user exhales seems to disappear into thin air, it’s not just air. The user is breathing in heavy metals like tin and lead along with harmful chemicals. Once such chemical is Diacetyl, which has been connected to serious lung problems. 

Vaping and Nicotine

And, of course, the main problem with e-cigarettes is that the liquid usually contains nicotine. Nicotine is a chemical from the tobacco plant which acts as a stimulant in the body. We know that it affects the heart and our hormones. In addition, it is highly addictive. The majority of people who use tobacco products experience addiction. According to the 2012 Surgeon General’s report, only 1 out of 4 young smokers will quit. Of the 3 remaining smokers, 1 “will die from tobacco-related causes”. Nicotine is what gets these users hooked. According to Cancer.org, it is “thought to be as addictive as heroin or cocaine.”

Effects of Vaping on the Body

So, this means that when you vape, you are inhaling harmful substances combined with an addictive chemical. Thus, you want more. The dependence on the nicotine becomes so powerful that quitting can actually lead to withdrawal symptoms. So, the question remains, will vaping affect your health care costs in the future? Probably. According to WebMD, a federal survey showed that people who vape have a 71% higher risk of stroke than those who do not. Plus, they experience a 59% higher risk of heart attack. Along with all of the negative effects from tobacco, this will have an impact on your health. 

Effects of Vaping on Health Insurance

Insurance companies view it all the same. E-cigarettes are still a tobacco product. People who use tobacco products pay more for health insurance. Insurance companies are strict with their policies regarding tobacco users. This is due to the many health problems associated with it. According to a CDC report from 2018, tobacco use claims roughly half a million lives each year. This is why there is such a drastic difference in the insurance premiums. Sometimes, it can mean being charged almost 50% more. So, vaping might be better than smoking, but it isn’t risk-free. Before you start, you might want to consider whether it’s really worth it. 

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