Smokers could face higher premiums

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The Independent Online
CIGARETTE smokers can expect to be increasingly penalised when they buy life insurance policies after the publication of new statistics on death rates in Britain.

They show that smokers are nearly twice as likely to die younger than non-smokers. The study of half a million insured men and women over two years showed that there was 81 per cent more deaths among smokers as among non-smokers.

For the first time the Institute of Actuaries and the Scottish Faculty of Actuaries have investigated the death rates of policy holders who said they smoked and those who said they did not, in an on-going study. Surprisingly, and for reasons not yet understood, there were more deaths among the female smokers than the male smokers. Men had an 'excess mortality' of 78 per cent and women 92 per cent.

They found the peak age, the age at which insured men most frequently die, was 84 when smokers and non-smokers are taken together.

But it goes down to 81 for smokers alone and up to 87 for non- smokers. In women the peak age at which the insured population dies was 89 for smokers and non smokers together; 85 for smokers and 91 for non-smokers.

John Martin, president of the institute, described the six-year differences as startling and significant.

Spencer Leigh, a member of the actuaries' Continuous Mortality Bureau, which conducted the study, said that for every minute a person smoked he or she was losing two minutes of life.