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Smoking and Life Insurance: Find the Best Rates

Licensed Life Insurance Agent/Marketing Manager
April 03, 2020

You may already know that the use of tobacco can affect your life insurance rates. 

What you may not realize is that depending on the life insurance company and factoring in how often you smoke you may be able to qualify for a cheaper, non smoker rate. 

Who is considered a smoker for life insurance?

On virtually every application that we see the common question regarding nicotine use is “have you used tobacco or nicotine in the last 12 months?” If you answer yes, then you are a smoker. Even 1 cigarette at a nightclub 6 months ago would be considered tobacco use for life insurance (by most companies).

The good news is there are companies out there that do not have such rigid guidelines on what constitutes a smoker and a non smoker. For example a casual smoker who only smokes an occasional cigarette once a month when out with friends could qualify for a cheaper rate with a specific company. The difference between a smoker rate and a non smoker rate can be substantial. 

What is considered smoking for life insurance?

Obviously cigarette smokers are considered smokers for life insurance. However, so are people who use chewing tobacco, cigars, pipes, electronic cigarettes, and even nicotine patch users and nicotine gum. Yep, even nicotine gum.

That is because the test that determines if there is nicotine in someone’s urine cannot determine where the nicotine came from. Therefore, if you pop positive for tobacco on a life insurance medical exam it does not matter what the source, even nicotine gum. For more, see exploring what life insurance medical exams test for.

It is possible that if you smoke cigars, pipes or electronic cigarettes that you can still qualify for non smoker rates. Finding the right life insurance company is the key to finding the lower rates. 

Call today: 888-234-8376

What if I recently quit smoking?

Many people wonder how long they have to quit smoking to qualify for life insurance without a tobacco rating. There are a lot of life insurance niches available for those who have quit the habit. Specific companies will offer their cheapest rates if it has been at least three (3) years since your last tobacco use. Some companies will offer a cheaper rate after only one (1) year of no tobacco use. Once again, it pays to know which company is the right fit for you and your specific scenario.


The main point of this article is to shine a light on the fact that there are a lot of life insurance options for smokers or users of nicotine products. The key to finding the cheapest life insurance rates for smokers is to find the companies that have more favorable views of tobacco use. 

If you aren't sure which company to go with give us a call and a life insurance agent can help guide you to the right life insurance company.

Written by
Chelsie Ball
Chelsie is fixated on developing innovative ways to present complex ideas and maneuvering people to the information they need. She has worked in digital marketing for the past eight years and has been a licensed life insurance agent since 2010. When she isn’t looking out for the user, you can find her watching Netflix or desperately trying to find a real hobby.