Vaping vs Smoking Costs

Vaping 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.

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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.

Vaping Cost Smoking CostAll 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.

Annual Cost Vaping SmokingOf 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.

38 COMMENTS
  • Dimitry 02/20/2015

    Wahoo! Im saving double than what is published in this study… I used to smoke a pack a day, for 37 years! But now I’m buying all these new toys… Wait, I think I just figured out why I’m so damn poor.

  • Johnny Yuma 02/20/2015

    Great article. The numbers don’t lie,but we know that real life will play out different for Poor Parker. That iStick is nice,but soon enough Parker’s pal Taylor will be sporting a 150 watt box mod. Parker can’t stand that….so add in another $100 for costs that year. That Aspire tank is a good start,but soon enough it’ll be a Subtank and a drawer full of drippers, kanthal and Jap cotton.

    • jarret 02/23/2015

      Lol it’s been close to s year for me.and your right I just bought a nemi mod in Dec with a dark horse. This week I’m getting leaf 50w . So YA add min 200. Till you find the combo .

  • Stephen Gillikin 02/20/2015

    that number is even smaller when using crate services like zamplebox, you get 6 bottles for 30 bucks

    • mike reynolds 09/04/2015

      yeah but are the bottles from zamplebox 30ml like at mt baker?

  • Gerry 02/20/2015

    If Parker remains an “analog-convert vapist”…he’ll be QUITE happy with his experience (and may buy a 2nd 30W-iStick and Nautilus for back-up).

    If he becomes a “hobby vapist”…he’ll move on to an Atlantis and 100 Watt Mod, rebuilding, etc. (which may add to his costs).

    EITHER way…he’ll BE healthier, feel MUCH better, breath/clothes/home will smell better, have cleaner car/home windows, have no more holes in clothes/furniture and be able to stay in NO SMOKING hotels!!!

  • Adam Marquis-Landau 02/20/2015

    Can’t forget the long term savings too! Like (hopefully) living a longer life and not having stacks of medical bills from a life spent inhaling tar and all the other crap in cigarettes!

  • Jack Faxon 02/20/2015

    My wife and I were spending about $400 a month between us to continue to smoke cigarettes. I smoked for about 59 years and my wife smoked for over 30 years. We switched to vaping and went a little nuts in the spending department. We figure even with the heavy outlay at the start, we are saving at least $150 to $200 a month. We both have tried the RBA and drippers and whatever. Settled on the Nautilus minis and Vamos and iSticks. Still trying different juices, but it has saved us a lot of money over smoking. Not to mention we feel better and don’t smell as bad either.

  • Brian 02/20/2015

    “Taylor had said that Mt. Baker Vapors’ e-juice was pretty good” – Now I know this was a total fabrication. Not very realistic. Calm down you MBV-apologists….just a joke.

  • Jean Moss 02/20/2015

    No matter how you quit smoking it will be worth it.

  • Dimitrt 02/20/2015

    LOL, you my friend are an instigating troll who has never tried MBV’ French Toast blend.

  • lee Bone 02/21/2015

    I get a bit carried away with spending on mods but now I have my atlantis kit &, thanks to vaping cheap, a Smowell explorer from Fasstech, I don’t think I’ll need any more stuff. The Explorer runs ALL my tanks and even carto’s & my Atlantis so because the coils last an age it’s just sub-ohm juice use I have to worry about. I don’t see the need for a variable now and mix my own juice so costs are tiny compared to 40 camels a day (around £20!!) and after the 1st months coughing fits my lungs are thanking me as well as my bank balance. God bless those early torch mod pioneers (hopefully) as these things have to be at least a little better health wise. I bet those guys had no idea what they were starting. Let’s just hope they made some money out of this ‘revolution’ before the big tobacco firms started to catch up

  • Mark Timblin 02/21/2015

    I quit cigarettes 20 years ago, one of the hardest habits to break but I did. I quit smoking cigars 5 years ago having smoked cigars for maybe 3 or 4 years, they started giving me migraines, one of the easiest habits to break. Through out it all, from age 11-12 years old until I was 56 years old I…dipped snuff. Towards the end I was going through almost 2 cans a day! I was getting a break only paying $7.25 per can instead of $7.50 per can, only because I had been a regular customer for a good number of years. I was forking out almost $300/month for my fix, switched to vaping, now almost 2 years later, I have built a considerable collection of mods, both mech a regulated, like my iPV2 and my IPV mini, think plus my old MVP and my ever trusty Vamo v5. I have both the 5 ml Nautilus and the Nautilus mini, an Aero tank mega, genitank mega and a Kanger sub tank mini, plus several drippers and a couple of RTA’s. Spent a lot in the 2 years of vaping. Haven’t had a dip of snuff in over a year…so it’s a win win for myself and my family. Besides, it was just a matter of time before the teeth I had left that my meds hadn’t taken, the snuff would have.

    • Nathan 02/21/2015

      really even if vaping cost more it would still be WAY worth it. Congrats on making the switch.

  • TheBison 02/23/2015

    As a former pack to pack and a half a day smoker I would be spending well over $300 a month by now if I was still smoking. Although I probably spend close to that amount most months vaping, I have a ton of cool gear and juices. Plus I am able to vape forward a ton of stuff to friends who can’t afford as much. Its a great feeling, plus my health is far better.

    • Nathan 02/23/2015

      That’s a good point, all the money spent on mods doesn’t just get burn up like cigarettes.

  • duwaynebrayton 02/23/2015

    Making my own juice, I think it comes out around $25 per liter. I am actually using completely nicotine free quite a lot of the time now, with only about 2-4mg when I do use it. But if you start with 99.9% nicotine (which you *must* dilute with VG or PG, to a concentration you can actually work with – it is impossible to accurately dilute from pure nicotine into even a 50ml batch) you will add very little cost per liter, even if you go to 36mg.

    Of course if you are up for making your own juice, you are quite likely to at least *want* to make up the difference and some, buying mods, rbas, rtas, and every other new gadget you can find! But making your own is not only a lot cheaper, the experimenting with flavors is a lot of fun.

    • Adam 03/11/2015

      I wanna start too….just seems really difficult to start

      • Broony 03/18/2015

        It is quitting cigarettes, so you have to be prepared, as vaping is not quite the same as smoking,but once you start vaping, with a touch of determination not to reach for the anolog(normal cig) you will find vaping stops the nicotine cravings. Then after vaping for awhile you will try the cigarette your friend offers you and wonder,”how did I ever find smoking enjoyable?”

        • tj 04/26/2015

          So true I can’t stand the smell or taste of cigs have been quit smoking now for 3 months people offer me cigs all the time n I can say take that garbage out lol

  • Shona 02/24/2015

    When I made the decision to switch to vaping a BIG factor was the cost savings. I smoked a pack of cigarettes every 3 days. This was about $60 a month for me. Since starting vaping 5 months ago, I shelled out $0 for a Vuse cigarette (free coupon promotion); $20 for an ego battery and some disposable CE4 clearomizers; $45 on a Kanger EMOW starter kit (what I use daily now); and about $35 on e-liquid from various vendors (still testing the waters…but for now, Mr. E-Liquid is my favorite). This past weekend I just shelled out about $30 for a VAMO V2, a Kanger Genitank and a pack of Kanger replacement coils (the Genitank and the EMOW use the same coils). I’m still under the $200 I would have spent on just cigarettes alone….not including lighters. Vaping is much definitely cheaper; if you restrain yourself from buying the latest and greatest mods that come out every few months!

    • Nathan 02/24/2015

      I’m glad you found a setup that works for you and where able to quit! Congratz!

  • No matter how the numbers come out, I think we all agree vaping is still the better choice. The only problem I have with this comparison is the cost of juice for me is much higher. Not because I buy premium priced juice all the time, (sometimes I do) but I actually use Mt Baker more than any other co. It’s just that out of all the bottles of juice I’ve bought in a year since becoming a vaper, only about 25% ends up being vape worthy to me. I now have a mountain of juice that I will never vape. I guess I should quit trying to find new juices, and stick to the few that I know I like.

    • mike reynolds 09/04/2015

      Try TNT vape youll thank me later 6.40 a bottle premium juice 30ml pick your vg/pg ratio great customer service sent me a bottle for one they were out of then sent one i ordered when it came in free 2day shipping presteeped unlike MBV

      • mike reynolds 09/04/2015

        I found same to be true and with TNT its presteeped
        i only vaped about 20% of the 10 bottles i ordered from MBV TNT on other hand i havent found a flavor i didnt like buy4get3promo can be used more than once

    • mike reynolds 09/04/2015

      Also there shipping is truly free not only after certain amount free all orders

  • TJ 02/28/2015

    I used to smoke for almost 33 years. Then I stopped for 20 years. Now I started VAPING , so far I have spent almost $800. Buying mods, rbas, batteries, Chargers , ETC….Whatever I’m retired n I don’t fish except. Breeding fresh water tropical exotic fish. FISH B W/U. VAPING zero nicotine. Love dessert e-juice. All kinds of fruits, ice cream, pies n ETC.

  • Broony 03/18/2015

    Does anyone else besides me wonder how the anti vaper can quite happily talk about the bottle of wine they are going home to after a hard day’s work trying to get ecigs banned outright and not think about the poor women living in fear of the alcoholic husband coming home to abuse them. Or the poor teenage who died because of a coward punch in the nightclub because of alcohol?
    Every time the ANTZ do a study to find ecigs are harmful they have to lie because they keep proving ecigs are less harmful than smoking. It is past time to accept ecigs are the best way to get smokers(who desire) to quit cigarettes and to accept that nicotine doesn’t kill.

    • mike reynolds 09/04/2015

      It is big pharma my friend nicorette makes a ecig thats fda approved same ingredients as all of our fav boutique mom and pop e liquid makers but cuz its a small buisness they mess with em

  • Gerry 03/18/2015

    “The adoption of electronic cigarettes disrupts popular conceptions of nicotine as a drug. Nicotine was demonized along with tobacco – indeed the two were seen as indistinguishable in terms of harm. Separating nicotine from tobacco brings to the fore questions of what kind of drug this is, why people use it, and why people like it. It raises issues about nicotine addiction as opposed to tobacco addiction: is addiction to nicotine per se a ‘problem’ if it is not accompanied by impairment, intoxication, harmful health consequences or harms to others? If nicotine is a relatively benign drug on a par perhaps with caffeine, if people find it functionally useful and pleasurable, what then would be the reasons – if any – to discourage its use?”

    http://www.ijdp.org/article/S0955-3959(14)00100-5/fulltext

  • dimitry 03/18/2015

    Indeed, it took my walking away from tobacco to realize that I was not addicted to nicotine, as much as I was addicted to the poisons they put into tobacco.

  • Erin 04/26/2015

    I think this is a fantastic article for me personally who lives in CT and used to smoke Newports at a pack a day. Now i use the MVP 20W and aspire nautilus tank i usually purchase from MT Baker but occasionally I like to order from Huff and Puffers and get a little thicker liquid. I know for sure this first year find the right set up I may have spent more than I would have liked and cracked a few glass tanks but know that I found some protection for my tank and the box mod I think all is starting to go better. Its way better than smoking!!!

  • Bill 06/17/2015

    20+ Yrs of spending 12-14 a day on 2 packs of Marlboro Reds, and NO cigs in 2 months, Kinda went crazy, I have a VTR, MVP PRO , 134, MVP 20, KBOX, SIG 150, and just today SX MINI and IPV 3 Li, 12 Tanks, tons of juices and , and all this and replacement heads, batteries and chargers, and all this via VAPING CHEAP alerts on blowouts and coupons, My SIG 150 was 59.00 as advertised on here. I have 600-800 invested, but I was spending 350-400 a month, and now I have no smell on clothes, and all kinds of COOL AS HELL VAPES and will keep buying, LOVE IT!! Keepin It Real and I’ll spend 300 a month, ON KICK ASS VAPE SHIT!! LOVING MY NEW HOBBY!

  • Charles 08/31/2015

    I used to smoke 2 packs a day of generics, totaling around $10 a day. Then I went to shred and roll your own, which ended up about $3 a day. Went to vaping 3 months ago. Can’t say I’ve saved any money at all, but I have 4 mods, 3 drippers, 3 rta’s and an Atlantis. Oh, and a new 40″ Smart TV. The smoking cost more than $3, there were lighters, days I bought a pack, etc. The savings is crazy.

    I buy the juice by the liter, mix in some flavor stuff I bought, I think it’s about 30 cents a day for juice. Got lots of money to do other things now. Thank you vaping!

    Mods:

    Maraxus Mech Mod
    Sigelei 30
    Kanger Subox
    Sigelei 150 TC

    Tops:

    Aspire Atlantis
    Kanger Subtank Mini
    Kanger Subtank Plus
    The Bomb (by ecloudcig) (n23)
    Mutation X4 (authentic)
    Aeolous
    Goblin

    I love the subtank plus with the maraxus mech mod. Nice hits at ~16 watts.

  • Gerry 09/04/2015

    “Try TNT vape youll thank me later 6.40 a bottle juice 30ml.”

    You may want to try derallecigs.com GREAT tasting flavors, $4.50 for 30ml. (when you buy six) and FREE quick shipping.

  • mike boyea 10/23/2015

    i do completely agree that vaping is far cheaper that smoking. very glad i made the switch myself. the only number you forgot was the cost of coils over the span of a year. just thought i’d point that out.

  • Brandon Gibson 12/05/2015

    I made the switch to vaping back in early March of this year and I can’t stress enough that I feel so much better because of it. I just love the way Big Tobacco launches it’s smear campaigns against vapers (LMFAO). News flash Big Tobacco, some day, you will all be bankrupted by the vaping industry! I nabbed a sweet deal on an Eleaf Istick TC 60 Watt kit, from the website Vapesupersaver.com, for around $56.00 (that included a Samsung 25R battery!) They have some really great deals on other authentic products as well, not to mention an excellent selection of e-juice. A plus is that they offer free shipping to all orders over $20.00. That’s hard to beat. I believe that most of us, who have made the switch to vaping, would agree that vaping has changed our lives. If vaping is so dangerous, how in the world am I using my Istick around family members with cigarette allergies? Answer. I do all the time and they don’t even notice. I smoked for 20+ years and, with the help of vaping, was able to quit. I can’t even stand to be in the same house as smokers now, not to mention that I save better than $175.00 per month, as opposed to when I smoked. It the savings alone isn’t incentive enough, the rewards I’ve noticed far outweigh the possible risks.

  • Mark Griffin 01/19/2016

    All this cost of vaping doesn’t make much sense when you personalise it. I was spending more on vaping than I did on smoking. This link shows how to cut the costs of vaping which is a better approach for a lot of people.

    https://www.e-cigshop.co.uk/four-ways-cut-cost-vaping/

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