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File photo of a smoker in Dublin city PA Archive/Press Association Images
The AA

Four out of 10 smokers lie on their life insurance applications

A study by the AA found a discrepancy between the number of people who smoke compared to the number of people who say they do.

IT’S NOT EASY being a smoker these days. Pushed out of bars, hotel rooms, most parties and even some public places like playgrounds, smokers pay the social price for being addicted to a drug that will kill half of its users.

Now it turns out that up to two in every five smokers are lying on their life insurance forms, according to a study by the AA.

According to data from the Health Service Executive (HSE), the overall prevalence of cigarette smoking in 2015 was 19.1%, down from 21.5% in 2013.

Yet the average smoker population among applicants for AA life insurance is only 12% – down from 15.3% in 2013.

The average smoker population among life insurance applicants is therefore seven percentage points lower than in the general population.

shutterstock_389799178Source: Shutterstock


The AA believe the widening discrepancy is down to 'misrepresentation' from smokers about their habit, as spokesman Conor Faughnan explains:

The real number of people who misrepresent their smoking habits on their life insurance policy is probably lower than the figure illustrated.

"Smoking rates are highest among young adults and people in lower socioeconomic groups - parties who are unlikely to have or need life insurance at that stage in their life.

"This could skew the figures slightly.

But given the sizeable gap between actual smokers and those who admit they smoke in their policies it is hard to believe that there is not some misrepresentation going on.

The AA warns that life insurance policies cost an average of 92% extra for smokers so as to offset additional healthcare and other related costs - and non-smokers end up paying over the odds when misrepresentation occurs from 'social' smokers.

AA Life Insurance currently classify electronic cigarette users as non-smokers as long as they have not smoked tobacco in the previous 12 months.

Read: Smoking will soon be banned in most Irish playgrounds

Read: Hikes in prices, menthols to be banned and plain packaging - cigarettes took a big hit this week

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