Vaping vs Smoking Costs
For someone used to spending less than $10 every couple of days to maintain their smoking habit, the relatively higher buy-in price of vaping can be a strong deterrent. Quality starter kits routinely run $50 or more, after all, and with regular coil and e-juice purchases, does it really make that big of a difference?
We decided to crunch some numbers and find out just how much money a typical smoker might expect to save by switching to vaping. In order to do this, we defined some hypothetical habits, researched some national price averages for the United States, picked out some starting gear and threw everything into an Excel spreadsheet. The results were surprising, even to us, so let’s get started by covering our hypothetical smoker’s average annual expenditure on cigarettes.
The Cost of Smoking
The Awl’s annual census of Marlboro Red prices for 2014 placed the cost of a pack between $5.25 and $12.85, with Missouri and Virginia tied for cheapest and New York reigning as the most expensive. After comparing prices for all 50 states, we calculated a national average of $7.12, which we’ll be using for our calculations from here on out.
Our hypothetical smoker – let’s call them “Parker” – smokes half a pack of Marlboro Reds a day. This works out to 182.5 packs over the course of a year, which we’ll round up to 183 since cigarettes aren’t sold in half packs. This means that Parker smokes 15.25 packs of Reds per month, to the tune of $108.58. Over the course of a full year, Parker will spend $1,302.96 on cigarettes, assuming consistency in their habit and choice of brand.
The Cost of Vaping
Now let’s say that Parker decides to try vaping. Parker’s best-friend Taylor has been vaping for a while, and was able to recommended some starting gear and a cheap e-juice vendor. Parker heads over to Mt. Baker Vapor and orders an iStick 30 for $34.49, an Aspire Nautilus for $25.99 and a 5-pack of BVC Nautilus coils for $10.85. Use the Mt. Baker Vapor Coupon below for an extra 10% off.
Based on their smoking habits, Parker can expect to go through about 2.5 ml of e-liquid per day, which means they’ll get 12 days of vaping from each 30 ml bottle they buy. That works out to thirty 30-ml bottles per year. Taylor had said that Mt. Baker Vapors’ e-juice was pretty good, so Parker decides to order from them. The cost of a 30 ml bottle from Mt. Baker is $6.49, which translates to $194.70 a year, or $16.22 per month. Rather than estimating when Parker would need to buy e-liquid and dividing the cost per-month that way, we’ll be using this generalized figure of $16.22/month for our calculations.
All said, Parker spends $87.55 (before shipping) during their first month of vaping, which is $21.03 cheaper than a comparable month of smoking Marlboro Reds. That’s not an enormous difference, but in the following months, Parker’s initial investment will end up paying for itself.
Once all of Parker’s equipment has been purchased, all they’ll need to buy from that point on is BVC coils and more e-liquid. Assuming that they continue to buy from Mt. Baker Vapor, a month’s worth of coils and e-juice adds up to $27.07, before shipping. This means that Parker saves $81.51 a month versus smoking Marlboro Reds, and that by the end of their third month vaping, Parker’s initial investment of $87.55 will have been more than covered.
The Bottom Line
Over the course of a full year, Parker will spend $385.32 on vaping, assuming their habits are consistent and that they don’t purchase a new tank or device. That’s a full $917.64 less than the $1,302.96 Parker spent annually on Marlboro Reds.
Of course, everyone’s individual mileage will vary depending on smoking/vaping habits, nicotine strength, vendors used, equipment purchased, shipping methods, etc. If someone gets knee-deep into vaping as a hobby, for instance, those high-wattage devices and authentic RDAs can add up fairly quickly.
However! For the average user – for someone who just wants to quit smoking and doesn’t want to turn vaping into a lifestyle – it’s easy to see how continued regular use of an e-cig can save monumental amounts of money when compared with equivalent traditional tobacco use.