Smokers are well aware of the financial cost of tobacco or cigarettes, particularly with the changes in the UK that came into effect a couple of years ago, homogenising the packaging and quantities available for purchase.
Vaping is showing itself to be a useful tool in the toolkit for quitting tobacco, so having answered the question of ‘if it works,’ the next question many smokers ask when considering switching to e-cigarettes is ‘is it cheaper or more expensive than smoking cigarettes?’
BENEFITS OF MAKING THE SWITCH FROM SMOKING TO VAPING
There are a huge number of benefits to stopping smoking, with vaping considered to be 95% less harmful than cigarettes, according to Public Health England. So why choose vaping over forms of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), like nicotine patches or nicotine gum? Peter Hajek Ph.D et al published a trial in the New England Journal of Medicine comparing e-cigarettes with forms of NRT at the one year mark, providing face to face behavioural support, and found that the abstinence rate in the e-cigarette group was 18% compared to 9.9% in the NRT group.
There is a question of why vaping appears to be more successful at helping to stop smoking than forms of NRT, they all deliver nicotine after all. Some forms of NRT are administered similarly to how you smoke a cigarette, but these have strict instructions for use and limits on the number of uses per day. Vaping, as an action, is close to smoking and so addresses part of the habit that something like a nicotine patch doesn’t, and users are able to self-administer as necessary, due to varying nicotine levels available in the ‘vape juice’ or e-liquid.
SMOKING VS VAPING - WHAT IS MORE EXPENSIVE?
HOW MUCH DO CIGARETTES COST?
Rishi Sunak, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, increased the price of tobacco most recently in November 2021, having increased the cost once already that year in March. He also pledged to increase tobacco prices by 2% every year to the year 2024. All of these moves have been in an effort to discourage people from smoking.
A cursory look at the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes from Tesco suggests an average of about £11 per pack (a range of £9 up to £13), suggesting the average cost of a cigarette is 55p. Buying from a superstore will keep the price down, but many smokers will buy from their local shop or garage, where the price will be marked up even further.
With these figures we can start to get an idea of how much the average smoker spends every year on their habit. If we look at a heavy smoker, someone who smokes a 20 pack of cigarettes a day, we can assume they will use 365 packs a year, spending in total £4,015 on tobacco. Keep in mind that doesn’t include extra costs like lighters, breakages, replacing a lost packet, and fuel to and from the shop if you are driving to get your cigarettes.
For every additional cigarette per day, you can add an extra £200.75 to that yearly total. For every cigarette under 20, you take £200.75 away from that yearly total - so lighter smokers who get through 10 cigarettes a day will be spending £2,007.50 in total over the year, for averagely priced cigarettes.
HOW MUCH DOES AN E CIG COST?
This is quite straight forward - an e-cigarette starter kit from SMOKO will cost £10. That is cheaper than your next pack of cigarettes. That gets you started on vaping.
Each SMOKO E-Cigarette Refill has the same amount of nicotine as 25 - 30 cigarettes. But let's make it is and say 1 e-cigarette refill = 25 cigarettes.
SMOKO sells our e-cigarette refills in a pack of 5 for £9.99. That price can drop when you start doing bulk discounts. So for the equivalent amount of nicotine as one cigarette, you would look at about £0.08 with SMOKO e-cigarettes.
Using the example of a heavy smoker of 20 cigarettes a day (1 pack a day smoker), across the year, you could assume you would spend £584 a year if you switched from your traditional tailor-made cigarettes to SMOKO E-Cigarettes.
Even if you double the amount you used your new e-cigarette, you would still only spend £1,168 a year - that is almost £2,900 less than you would spend on cigarettes!
That is 70% to 85% cheaper than your current habit - and that doesn't include the cost of smoking to your health!
HOW LONG WILL AN E-CIG LAST
‘The Devil is in the details’ - a truer phrase was never spoken! It is essential to have an awareness of your device, otherwise you are likely to be caught short - whether you have run out of refills, your only working battery just died, or you forgot to bring your USB charger to work. Having spares to hand may seem like an unnecessary cost, however the price you pay for forgetting and not covering all bases is a whole lot of stress until you resolve the situation, or in the worst case scenario, find yourself picking up a pack of cigarettes.
A typical cigalike e-cig battery should last a full day of regular use, depending on how the device is used. At SMOKO we recommend changing batteries every three months, though some batteries go on for much longer, and we would always suggest carrying a spare.
How long the refills last is going to depend on the user, the amount of liquid in a refill, and the power of the device itself. A heavy smoker may find themselves getting through a refill of 2% nicotine in a day, where a lighter smoker may take 2 or more days to get through the same refill.
For users that lean toward vape pens or box mods, the limit on capacity for e-liquid tanks is 2ml in the UK, so a 10ml bottle will last for 5 fillings of the tank. How long your bottles of e liquid last is therefore dependent on how quickly you drain your tank over the course of 5 refills. It is worth knowing that a more powerful device will vaporize the liquid faster, and an additional cost on these devices are coils that need to be replaced regularly for the best experience, and to avoid degradation and leaking of metal into the e-liquid itself.
FACTORS THAT DETERMINE HOW MUCH YOU WILL SPEND ON VAPING
The overall cost of your vaping habit will be subject to the choices you make!
The small cig-a-like devices are inexpensive to buy, require minimal maintenance, and the refills are modestly priced too. The biggest factor that determines your costs with one of these is the speed at which you consume the refills.
A heavy smoker may find they get through more refills than a lighter smoker, for example. If you lose a battery or a refill, you may already have spares because they aren’t expensive - I would highly recommend keeping spares!
For the vape pens, we then include replacement of coils and e-liquids in your regular expenses. Spare coils are a must as they heat the e-liquid, and older corroded coils will affect the taste of your e-liquid, and worse; leak some metal into your liquid. Some of the vape pens have a changeable tank, some have it built in, which can be problematic if you manage to break it! Replacement tanks aren’t super expensive, but it is another spare worth having, should you need it.
As soon as we get into box mod territory, we need spares of all the parts: batteries, coils, tanks, so make sure to maintain and clean the device regularly, taking the time to check batteries and give the device a good once-over.
WHICH IS CHEAPER?
Coming back to those numbers we worked out earlier, we calculated the average cost when you smoke a pack a day for a year, which added up to £4,015, compared with £584 - £1,168 we calculated as the cost of vaping with an e-cigarette for a year (without bulk buying). In this example, it means using an e-cigarette works out to be over 70% to 85% LESS EXPENSIVE than smoking cigarettes to get the equivalent amount of nicotine consumption. As soon as we use the bulk buying figure, the saving goes over 85%. We can therefore categorically state that vaping is cheaper than smoking.
HOW MUCH CAN YOU SAVE BY SWITCHING TO VAPING?
If you are a smoker, start vaping to start saving money! Our 20 cigarettes a day vs one refill a day example works out to be a saving of over 80%, or a figure of £3,215.09 for the year - bulk buying turns this saving into £3,434.20.
Now, this example is hypothetical in that it doesn’t account for breakages, misplaced batteries or refills, and assumes a direct equivalency in terms of nicotine consumption. Quite often, when people make the switch, they vape more than they normally would smoke, and this can be down to the slower absorption of nicotine from e-liquid aerosol compared to cigarette smoke.
SMOKING VS VAPING - WHAT IS MORE EXPENSIVE CONCLUSION
Vaping vs smoking - a big debate of our time! Smoking directly kills over 7 million people a year worldwide, and vaping technology appears to be a much less harmful way of consuming nicotine, and is proving to be a successful stop smoking tool.
We have also established that vaping is much cheaper than smoking tobacco, and so the financial benefits should be another compelling factor to give up tobacco, and make the switch to vaping today!
So if you are ready to save a fortune and dramatically improve your life while still enjoying your nicotine fix - here are some of the most popular e-cigarette starter kit deals to help you quit smoking for good!
*2023 Update - Now you can get the SMOKO E-Cigarette for FREE when you purchase a box of E-Cigarette refills! (One per customer)