Health Insurance Companies have $4.4 Billion Invested in Tobacco Production

This doesn’t come as much of a shock really, but health insurance companies in Britain, Canada and the U.S. have invested at least $4.4 billion in tobacco companies.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has confirmed that at least $4.4 billion in health insurance company funds are invested in companies whose subsidiaries produce tobacco in the form of cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.

According to the study, US insurer Prudential Financial has $US264.3 million dollars invested among three US tobacco companies, including Reynolds America and Philip Morris.

Canadian insurer Sun Life Financial, which sells life, disability and health insurance, has a stock portfolio with more than one billion dollars in two tobacco companies, including $US890 million in Philip Morris.

Tobacco is the leading cause of lung cancer as well as a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, pulmonary disease and other types of cancer. According to the World Health Organisation, it is a contributing factor in 5.4 million deaths a year.

So, all you non-smokers out there, how do you feel about your health insurance premiums being invested in companies that produce products that are slowly killing you?