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Some think that being a smoker or non-smoker when it comes to life insurance is no big deal. As soon as they start doing some research into buying this insurance reality sets in.

Life Insurance Non-Smoker Definition

non smoker

An insurance shopper’s definition of being a non-smoker may be different than what the insurance companies definition is.  It is pretty straightforward for them. It means not having used any type of product that contains any form of nicotine for at least a period of twelve months. Nicotine products include;

  • Cigarettes
  • Pipes
  • Cigars
  • Chewing Tobacco
  • Betelnut
  • Cigarillos
  • Patches that contain nicotine
  • Gum that contains nicotine
  • Vaping cigarettes that contain nicotine
  • E-cigarettes
  • Marijuana in any form
  • Or any other product or form of tobacco

Why Do Insurance Companies Care If You Smoke?

Life Insurance Companies rely on different resources to help them determine their risks. Your risk as a smoker for them could mean an early death for you. Which means an insurance payout for the insurance companies. They are going to pay attention to statistics like;

  • According to the  as of October 2017 their stats show that one in five deaths in Canada is as a result of smoking.
  • Statcan shows that the largest percentage of smokers is in the age group eighteen to thirty-four years.
  • Insurance companies may look at other statistics Canada information that shows smoking is a risk factor for;
  • Lung cancer
  • Respiratory diseases that are chronic
  • Heart disease
  • stroke
  • And several other conditions

When Are You Considered a Non-Smoker After Quitting?

You may have been a smoker. But, if you have refrained from any type of tobacco use for twelve months, then most insurance companies will consider you to be a non-smoker.

How Do Life Insurance Companies Know If You Smoke?

Life Insurance companies place a lot of emphasis on the effects of smoking and non-smoking when it comes to mortality. They gather stats and follow these closely. Some individuals assume they can fool life insurance companies about their smoking habits.

In many cases, life insurance companies will insist on a medical examination by their own personnel. This may include blood tests. There are tests that can be done to check to see if there is nicotine in the system. In the urine, traces of cotinine which is a by-product of nicotine can show from anywhere from three days to four months. Nicotine can even be found in a strand of hair.

Life Insurance for Smokers in Canada

Life Insurance Companies are all about risks. Some have even developed life expectancy calculators. The formula works off a series of metrics such as;

  • Your gender
  • Whether you are a smoker or not:  light -moderate-heavy
  • Age
  • Height and Weight
  • Do you consume alcohol
  • Your activity level
  • The type of  diet
  • Your Stress level

Then depending on your answers, it will help to calculate your life expectancy.

When it comes to smoking here is just one example of the potential life expectancy based on one set of metrics.


  • 40-year-old male
  • Wants to retire at age 65
  • Is 6 ft. tall. Weighs 190 pounds
  • Doesn’t drink alcohol
  • Is active and eats a healthy diet
  • Has a low-stress level
  • But is a heavy smoker

The results is a life expectancy of 79. Now if all the metrics stay the same but the smoking is changed to never smoked the life expectancy goes up to 85. So it is easy to see why life insurance companies are concerned about smoking.

How Much is It Going to Cost Me for Life Insurance If I smoke?

This is a big question with a lot of possible answers.  The reasons why it is difficult to answer is because it is going to depend on the following;

  • What life insurance company, are you going to deal with?
  • What type of life insurance are you going to buy?
  • Your gender?
  • Do you consume alcohol?
  • What is your health status?
  • What is your health history?
  • Your age
  • How much you smoke and how long you have smoked.
  • Also, maybe what kind of tobacco products you consume

These answers will factor into the cost of your premiums. In addition, it will depend on how a specific insurance company rates these risks.

One example indicates that a couple was paying about $135. a month. That is going back five years ago. So you can imagine what it would cost now with insurance rates going up over this period of time.

Cost for Insurance for Smokers vs Non-Smokers

Just going on generalities it is indicated that life insurance costs for smokers will roughly double in cost. So here are a few rough estimates

Age                        Gender                                Type                      Value                    Non Smoker       Smoker

35                           F                                         Term                     $400,000              $21.53                  $43.06

50                           M                                       Term                     $500,000              $73.                       $146.

40                           M                                       10 yrs.term         $500,000               $32.08                  $72.91

40                           F                                        Term                    $150,000                $22.50                  $39.

Non Smokers Save on Premium Costs

It is hard to give a solid example because of all the variables.  The difference in costs may not be as pronounced for smokers buying permanent insurance. Or for older individuals applying for life insurance.

Insurance for Smokers in Canada

It appears to be a general rule that premiums for most types of life insurance could double for smokers. Some insurance companies may be a little more lenient with this. Smokers may be able to get cheaper rates if;

They only smoke cigars on occasion such as no more than twelve a year.

Those who smoke cigarillos may get slightly cheaper rates.

There may be preferred smoker health rates. Which is going to depend on some variables.

Occasional smokers who only smoke perhaps once a month.

Occasional pipe smokers.

There also may be some temporary insurance deals with cheaper insurance rates for the first two years. Where an insurance company will give nonsmoker rates for a limited period of time. Like for the first two years of the policy. Applicable to permanent life insurance. Following this, the cost would revert to smokers premiums.

Does Smoking Void a Life Insurance Policy?


It is possible that smoking could void a life insurance policy. If the cause of death was determined to be from smoking. This may be one example. If, the insured had stated they were a nonsmoker on their life insurance application. Or, if there had been a nonsmoking clause in their policy and they started to smoke without notifying the insurance company. This may be another potential reason for voiding the policy.

It pays to be a non-smoker when it comes to life insurance costs. But, there are still opportunities for smokers’ life insurance discounts. This means it is well worth shopping around for this insurance.