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September 18, 2018

Educating Smokers: the Best Insurance

Summary:

Insurance agents have it within their power to do more than sell policies or find the best prices for smokers who want to buy insurance.

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

Picture a field army of insurance agents, whose mission is to help people live longer and no longer suffer from an addiction that benefits no one, not even the beneficiaries of a life insurance policy.

Picture these agents not in fatigues but shirt sleeves, campaigning like citizen soldiers and delivering relief to their respective communities. Picture these agents neither in a battle of arms nor a contest of strength, but a war for the hearts and minds—and lungs—of smokers; of men and women who want to quit smoking; of individuals who want to end their cravings for tobacco and their consumption of nicotine.

Picture a constituency equal to this army, whose lives would otherwise end in tragedy and whose deaths would have no meaning in a library of statistics. Picture more of the same in which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the U.S., including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.

See also: Wellness Industry’s No-Good, Very Bad Year  

Picture harmless ways to quit smoking. Picture seminars and workshops. Picture corporate partnerships and public meetings, where insurance agents are themselves agents of change rather than a series of changing faces; where the perception of agents changes to the reality of agents as leaders of every community they represent.

We cannot afford to perpetuate the current image, which costs $170 billion per year in treatments for tobacco-related illnesses.

We cannot afford to continue to ignore the obvious: that the economic cost of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day is $177 per week or more than $9,200 per year.

We cannot afford to lose so many so often. We must not habituate ourselves to the emotional wreckage of a deadly habit; because the second we cease to absorb the enormity of this problem—the minute we distance ourselves from the size of this plague—is the moment we abandon our moral authority and the morale of Americans nationwide.

Insurance agents have it within their power to do more than sell policies or find the best prices for smokers who want to buy insurance.

They have the expertise to speak to smokers about the bottom line, that they can quit smoking without risking their already fragile physical or psychological health. They can help smokers convert the money they waste on cigarettes, as they lay waste to their bodies, into a commodity that protects their health and lines their pockets with cash: insurance.

Coverage is what smokers need.

An effective—and harmless—way to quit smoking is what these individuals must have.

See also: 2018 Workers’ Comp Issues to Watch  

Let us resolve to promote healthy living by saving the lives of those whose health is in danger.

Let us eliminate the fog of uncertainty and the cloud of indecision, because we must not be enablers of cigarette smoking or passive smokers in our own right.

Let us summon that field army into action.

Let us earn this victory, so we may celebrate this achievement.

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About the Author

Michael D. Shaw is an MIT-trained biochemist and former protégée of the late Willard Libby, the 1960 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Shaw is a frequent writer and speaker about a variety of public health issues.

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