The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. just announced an investigation of a multistate outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI). By November there were over 1,800 confirmed and probable cases and 37 deaths.1 This opens the safety of Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) to scrutiny once more.
In early August 2019, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity urging clinicians to report possible cases of unexplained vaping-associated pulmonary illness to their state/local health departments.
The potential health risks of vaping – the use of e-cigarettes to deliver nicotine or cannabinoids as a vapor instead of smoke – are now capturing headlines for an alarming spike in sickness. RGA’s Dr. Dave Rengachary, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Director, U.S. Mortality Markets, briefly discusses what is known, and not known.
The call often comes in like this one: “My client does something called vaping. It’s not like smoking cigarettes—it’s much less toxic. He doesn’t do it that often. He can get a non-tobacco policy, right?” So, what is vaping? How toxic is it if at all? And can you get a non-tobacco policy?
Smoking cessation has been a large contributor to improving mortality over the past few decades and tobacco use, amongst adults and teens, is at an all-time low. However, the trend of vaping and e-cigarettes has exploded. What are the implications for insurers?