I have zero issue with higher risk activities warranting higher premiums. Nothing at all wrong with that. The only thing I take issue with are quotes like " 450,000 US residents die of smoking-related diseases each year."
While technically true, it is COMPLETELY misleading. This is not saying that 450,000 people died as a direct result of smoking... but it certainly sounds like it doesn't it?
It would be the same as if I just took the numbers of all the people who died from diabetes or heart failure and lumped them in as "obesity related" deaths.
Just to be clear, smoking isn't healthy, that's a fact. It increases risk for cancer and other health issues. It would be ridiculous for insurers not to charge more. Its probably getting charged at a much higher rate then it warrants but that's a private business decision and it isn't just based on smoking alone but the fact that smokers also tend to fall into other categories for higher risk. Sadly, this tends to target the lower class disproportionately but them's the breaks.