On June 19, 2019

Vermont ranks 49th for youth vaping

Staff report

Two online insurance marketplaces, QuoteWizard and Lending Tree, recently compiled data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and released a report June 6 outlining e-cigarette usage by prevalence. The findings could force the hand of insurance companies to create a clear designation on e-cigarette use. In 2018, 3.6 million middle school and high school students reported e-cigarette use. Vermont ranked 49th in the use of e-cigarettes, according to the report.

Vermont just passed a law raising the tobacco and vaping use age to 21. That law will go into effect this summer.

As the e-cigarette using youth come of age and join individual health insurance markets, it could certainly pressure insurers into a formal designation. If designated as tobacco, it would lead to significant increases in insurance premiums.

The FDA does not classify the e-cigarette as a tobacco product yet, so it’s a gray area for most insurance companies. The Tobacco Use Surcharge is a rule under the ACA that allows insurers to increase premiums up to a maximum of 50 percent for enrollees who signal they use tobacco.

QuoteWizard analyzed data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of e-cigarette users in all 50 states. It took the crude prevalence of current e-cigarette users in each state and ranked all 50 states from the highest crude prevalence to the lowest crude prevalence. States with the highest crude prevalence are considered to have the highest rate of e-cigarette users and are therefore most likely to be affected by e-cigarettes in terms of their health insurance premiums.

Rank State Crude prevalence (%)

1 Oklahoma 7.1

2 Kentucky 6.1

3 Indiana 6.0

4 Tennessee 5.9

5 Wyoming 5.8

6 Arkansas 5.7

7 West Virginia 5.7

8 Nevada 5.4

9 Arizona 5.3

10 Colorado 5.3

11 Ohio 5.3

12 Missouri 5.2

13 Utah 5.1

14 Alabama 4.9

15 Michigan 4.9

16 Mississippi 4.9

17 New Mexico 4.9

18 Rhode Island 4.9

19 Virginia 4.9

20 Delaware 4.8

21 Hawaii 4.7

22 Pennsylvania 4.7

23 Texas 4.7

24 Idaho 4.6

25 Kansas 4.6

26 New Hampshire 4.6

27 North Carolina 4.6

28 Louisiana 4.5

29 Georgia 4.4

30 Illinois 4.4

31 New Jersey 4.4

32 Oregon 4.4

33 Florida 4.3

34 North Dakota 4.3

35 Washington 4.3

36 Wisconsin 4.3

37 Maine 4.1

38 South Carolina 4.1

39 Iowa 4.0

40 Montana 3.9

41 South Dakota 3.9

42 Nebraska 3.8

43 New York 3.8

44 Minnesota 3.7

45 Alaska 3.5

46 Maryland 3.3

47 Massachusetts 3.3

48 Connecticut 3.2

49 Vermont 3.1

50 California 3.0

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