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Still Smoking? Will Smoking Affect Your Health Insurance?

Make this the year that you give it up.  Every third Thursday in November is the Great American Smoke-Out.
CDC Statistics

Thousands of young people start smoking cigarettes every day.

  • Each day, more than 3,200 persons younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette.
  • Each day, an estimated 2,100 youth and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily cigarette smokers.

Percentage of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older who were current cigarette smokers

  • 18.1% of all adults (42.1 million people): 20.1% of males, 14.5% of females
  • 21.8% of non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • 19.7% of non-Hispanic Whites
  • 18.1% of non-Hispanic Blacks
  • 12.5% of Hispanics
  • 10.7% of non-Hispanic Asians (excluding Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders)
  • 26.1% of multiple race individuals

Current smokers are defined as persons who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetime and who, at the time of interview, reported smoking every day tart smoking cigarettes every day.

Most smokers will ask “Will smoking tobacco increase my health insurance rates?”

Yes. Smoking will certainly raise your insurance rates. There are certainly numerous data available that proves that smokers are costing insurance companies more money than their non-smoking counterparts. Health insurance companies use studies and data to determine an individual’s health insurance rate. The risks presented by a client decide their premiums or rates. Those with lifestyle, health, or other issues that may cause them to need more expensive health care procedures at a later point in life will be charged with higher premiums to balance this risk.

Insurance companies do not charge smokers with a higher rate simply because they will cost them more throughout their lives. There are also a lot of studies which suggest that smokers cost the nation a great amount of money annually. With every pack of cigarettes smoked, the country pays more than $7 in the form of health care costs, lowered work productivity, and more. This cost does not include the 500,000 premature deaths caused by cigarette smoking annually. Generally, smokers cost the nation an estimated $160 billion each year.”  Ref:   From Vista Health Insurances Blog

Although many smokers have quit, there are many more who find it hard to do so. Smoker statistics encompass less-educated, rural, and lower-income Americans. Historically and today, many teenagers smoke to look cool to their peers, and control their weight. And like many ex-smokers, teens engage in a long-standing habit that is difficult to break.

Down south, where tobacco is a staple product, smoking is being curtailed but it is more prevalent in restaurants and buildings than by our northern neighbors. But it’s slowly changing. New bans in restaurants, bars, inside and outside of city offices and institutions, non-smoking areas are popping up all over.

If you still smoke, have you tried or wanted to quit? If so, if you are like most folks, you have probably tried more than once to end your smoking habit. Maybe even twice, three times or even more. Smoking is one of the hardest habits to break. It is an addiction both psychologically and physically. If you are smoker and desire to quit, you have to be the one who wants to. You can’t quit for your wife or mother, or husband, or girlfriend, or boss. You have to really want to quit.

Here’s one way to break the habit if you don’t want to quit cold turkey. It works for a lot of people. What is it? You purposely decrease the amount you smoke and the times (habit) when you smoke.

Here’s how that works. You pick a day when you are ready to start your quitting. Count how many cigarettes you habitually smoke a day and when and keep a journal of the amount and habit-tme situations.

Say you smoke 20 cigarettes or one pack a day. The day you are ready to start your quit program, take 10 cigarettes out of a pack and ration yourself through the day to smoke only those 10. To non-smokers, this seems like a lot. To a smoker – it is hard work to cut their supply in half. Cut out the early morning one and the ones in your car. When you do feel like having a cigarette, don’t light up right away — tell yourself you’ll have it in 5 minutes. Keep decreasing and delaying. It helps break your ‘smoke habit times’ as well as decreasing the nicotine addiction in your body.

When you are smoking ten cigarettes a day and not wigging out, reduce that down to 5 or 3 cigarettes a day. These will be ones you will crave the most. Cut out the after meal smokes or the ‘habit’ of smoking after meals will be stronger when you do quit for good. You’re trying to break the psychological ‘when’ as well as the numbers. You will eventually quit.

Try not to mingle with your ‘smoking buddies’ while you are doing this way of quitting. Temptations of social smoking increase with a glass of wine in your hands. Eventually the 3 to 5 cigarettes will sustain you. The day will come, depending on your will and readiness, when you’re down to 3, 2 or 1 cigarette a day – and it’s easier now and only you can decide what day that is – to give them up completely with little withdrawal.

Don’t rationalize that you are ‘smoking much less’ — it’s still smoking. You can do this. Others have quit this way and have never gone back. Join them.

Make this the year you can say, “I gave up smoking”.

 

© Marie Coppola, Revised November 2014