Tag: Impacts

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It's a well-known fact that smoking causes an adverse effect on your health. You must have seen the warning message on all cigarette boxes – 'Smoking is injurious to health'. Smoking tobacco is a root cause of 30% of all cancer deaths and causes 16 times higher risk of heart attack.

There are almost 120 million smokers in India. As per World Health Organization, India accommodates around 12% of the world's smoking population. The number of men smoking tobacco has increased from 78 million in year 1998 to 108 million in the year 2015. Tobacco consumption is accountable for the death of 6 million people each year. Direct tobacco consumption accounts for over 5 million deaths and 0.6 million deaths are due to exposure to second-hand smoke. Considering serious public health risks, the Government has banned smoking in public places from 2nd October, 2008.

Not only your health, it also causes you to pay higher premiums for a health insurance policy, due to increased health risks and shorter life expectancy. A nonsmoker however, gets premium discounts as a reward to lead a healthy lifestyle. Being a smoker, it is advisable not to hide your smoking habit from your health insurance company, as it helps you to cover the smoking-related health issues.

There is a wide curiosity among people, how smoking impacts the health insurance and its cost. Let's educate yourself about smoking and its impact on health insurance policy.

Smoking – What It Includes

Smoking includes inhalation of of the smoke of burning tobacco in the form of cigarettes, cigars and beedi. Whether you are an occasional smoker or frequent smoker, you will be considered as a smoker under the health insurance policy.

Smokers can buy health insurance, however an insurance company may charge extra premium or reject your application for insurance, depending on the number of cigarettes you smoke on a regular basis. A smoker may also have to go through additional health check-ups that can help an insurance company to ascertain the risk factor and then charge the premium amount accordingly.

How Smoking Affects Your Health and Insurance Premium

Smoking makes the serious impact on your health, some of them are detailed below.

Circulatory System: Smoking results in increased risk in the heartache and blood pressure. Building up of fatty acids could resulting to atherosclerosis.

Immune System: Smoking results in severe and long lasting illnesses. Smokers are more prone to develop ulcers, cancer, pneumonia, high blood pressure, bronchitis, and other viral / bacterial / fungal infections.

Respiratory System: Smoking may damage lung functions and breathlessness. It may cause damage to the air sacs of the lungs, increased chance of developing chronic bronchitis.

Oral Health: Smoking can lead to tooth loss, tooth staining, gum disease which may increase the risk of tooth decay.

Cancer: Smoking for a long time also causes cancer to various body organs.

When it comes to a health insurance policy , an insurance company considers the magnitude of illnesses and deaths caused due to smoking and that's why, smokers need to pay higher premiums to avail health insurance cover. Typically, the insurance companies charge around 15 to 20 percent higher from a smoker policyholder. Those who smoke would need to undergo additional medical checks, before the insurer issues you the policy.

Let's understand the difference of premium between a smoker and non-smoker individual.

Ritesh (non-smoker) at 30 years of age buys an individual health plan with Rs 5 Lacs coverage, for 1 year policy term, the chargeable annual premium amount is Rs 4,656. However, Raj (smoker) is buying an individual health plan, he is charged with an annual premium amount of Rs 7,552. An increase in premium amount is only due to the fact that Ansh lies in the smoker category of premium. We can see Raj is paying Rs 2896 extra on account of smoking.

Smoker with Existing Health Problems

If you are a frequent smoker that has caused the symptoms of the declining health condition and getting puzzled whether you can get a health insurance. The answer is yes, the only thing required is to make honest and proper disclosures.

The insurance company will then assess the risk associated with your profile …

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Most people have heard of inbreeding (shorthand for inbreeding depression), the phenomenon where when two individuals who are too genetically similar have offspring, the offspring is less fit or viable. Inbreeding is a problem in humans as well as other organisms.

Outbreeding depression is a similar effect that arises in the opposite scenario: decreased fitness resulting when two individuals that are genetically very distant from each other have offspring.

Relative importance of inbreeding vs. outbreeding in plants and animals

In most animals (including humans), inbreeding depression tends to be more serious of a problem than outbreeding depression. There is some evidence of outbreeding depression in genetically distant individuals, but it doesn’t seem to produce the same severity of problems with birth defects or other genetic disorders that inbreeding can result in.

However, with plants, due to their different genetic characteristics, the problems can be pronounced, and in many species of plants, outbreeding produces more serious problems than inbreeding.

The reasons and mechanisms for plants’ distinct genetic behavior and performance are numerous. Plant genetics can be a bit more chaotic and varied than animal genetics. Plants tend to have more chromosomes than animals, and their number of chromosomes can vary more within a species.

Evolutionary pressure on plants

In order to understand why plants are likely to suffer more from outbreeding depression than animals, consider the evolutionary pressures that have been placed on plants.

Animals are mobile, and as such, can travel distances to find new mates, whereas most plants are anchored to a fixed place, and are thus limited in their reproductive choice to individuals physically near them. In addition, many plants are self-fertile or self-pollinating, allowing an individual to produce genetically-distinct offspring by recombining its own genetic material. In order to produce viable offspring by self-fertilization, plants need to carry more genetic diversity within each individual. Doing so also protects against inbreeding–which is likely in plants due to the physical constraints.

Interestingly, some animals that are less mobile, like mussels and other shellfish that attach to fixed substrates, also can have serious problems with outbreeding depression.

Implications of outbreeding depression on human activity

Plants do not normally encounter outbreeding depression in natural environment, because the geographic constraints and physical constraints on reproduction and seed distribution ensure that genetic material flows only slowly and gradually through different plant populations.

Humans, however, have changed this, by moving plant species around for the purposes of gardening, agriculture, farming, and landscaping.

Up until recently, most discussion of human influences on plant populations has focused on humans introducing new species, which have the potential to become invasive. But there is another, harder to detect influence humans are having: moving individuals of a given plant species around within its range.

Through this, humans can introduce new individuals of a species to a distant region within the range of that species. For example, if humans plant a tree or flower far from where it originated, it can now cross-pollinate with natural populations of its species, and the resulting offspring will be more likely to suffer from outbreeding depression. Humans can thus harm the fitness of wild populations of plants growing adjacent to gardens that they plant with seeds from distant populations.

The structure of the commercial nursery industry

Nowadays, most plants that people grow in their gardens are purchased from nurseries. The financial benefits of economy of scale have driven nurseries to consolidate their operations. Most nurseries that sell plants do not grow plants from seed, but rather, purchase them from huge operations that are often many states away.

So when you buy a tree or flower, it might be from a population in a completely different ecoregion, and, even if you are purchasing a plant species native to your local region, if the individual you purchase is from a distant population of that species, it is likely to contribute to outbreeding depression when it cross-pollinates with local wild populations.

Add cultivars to the mix, destroying genetic diversity

The practice of developing and selecting cultivars of plants, the “named” varieties that you see in most garden centers, has further complicated things. These named varieties are selected for special horticultural features, and they tend to …

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