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Is Vaping Cheaper than Smoking Cigarettes?

Key Takeaways

  • The cost of a pack of cigarettes in the United States varies significantly from state to state, with an average price of around $6.50. Based on that, smoking 20 cigarettes a day costs around $195 a month, or $2350 a year.
  • The cost of vaping also varies depending on where you are in the country, but not as much as cigarettes. The least cost-effective vaping method, small disposables, will cost around $75 per month, or $900 a year.
  • Vaping also involves an initial cost for the device and ongoing extra costs for coils, etc. Thankfully, those extra costs don’t add up to much, and should only increase the monthly spend by $15 for the average user. 
  • Cigarettes and vape liquids are relatively cheap in the U.S., compared with many other countries. In the U.K., a pack of cigarettes can cost £18, making the average £4 price for 10ml of vape liquid even more attractive.

Vaping makes a great alternative to smoking for many reasons. But aside from being better for your health, smelling nicer, and potentially making it easier to quit altogether, the cost of vaping will be an important consideration for many people. 

How much does vaping cost? Does a vape cost less than a pack of cigarettes? How much can you save in the long term? We get asked questions like these all the time, by smokers, new vapers, and people on the fence about making the switch. 

So let’s take a look at the cost of vaping vs smoking and help you decide if switching makes good financial sense. We’ll also explore how different types of vapes may fit your budget more than others. 

Note: We have used a lot of average costs here and based our comparisons on someone who smokes 20 cigarettes per day. If you smoke more or less than this, increase or reduce the estimated costs accordingly.


How Much Does Smoking Cost?

In the United States, the cost of a pack of cigarettes varies drastically from state to state. You can expect to pay less than $5 a pack in Virginia or Georgia, but double that in New York. The average price sits at around $6.50, so that’s the price we’ll use in our calculations. 

Based on that starting point, smoking 20 cigarettes a day will cost you around $195 per month, or $2350 per year. If price trends continue, this cost is only going to rise as smoking is taxed more heavily. The average increase in the cost of a pack of cigarettes between 1997 and 2022 was 7% per year, more than double annual inflation.  

You can save a bit of money by buying cartons or using loose-leaf tobacco, but not much. You also have the additional costs of lighters, papers, filters, etc. 

Using the same figures shown above ($6.50 a pack), here are a few cost examples for lighter and heavier smokers:

  • Smoking 5 per day: $48.75 per month
  • Smoking 10 per day: $97.50 per month
  • Smoking 30 per day: $292.50 per month
  • Smoking 40 per day: $390 per month

How Much Does Vaping Cost?

The price of vaping also undoubtedly varies in different parts of the country. But although we don’t have the same amount of data for vape liquid prices, it is unlikely to vary quite as much as the cost of cigarettes. 

Even basing our estimate on the least cost-effective way to vape (a small-capacity disposable) the cost could be around half as much as smoking. A 600-puff disposable can be bought for under $5 and should last an average of two days. That’s just $75 per month, or $900 a year. 

The savings increase when looking at the much more popular large-capacity disposables. A 5000-puff Elf Bar costs something like $15 but could last you two weeks. How does $30 a month or $360 a year sound? 

Of course, if you don’t want to use disposables, you also have to factor in the cost of the vape. 


How Much Does a Vape Cost?

There are some additional costs involved in vaping if you decide to go for a tank or pod vape rather than using disposable vapes. You’ll have to buy the vape itself, obviously, along with the consumables it needs. 

The popularity of vaping and increased competition between brands means that the costs of vapes have generally come down over the last few years. Vapes are now better, for less money, than they have ever been. But how much does a vape cost?

  • Disposable Vapes – $5 to $17
  • Vape Pens – $10 to $30
  • Pod Vapes – $10 to $40
  • Box/Battery Mods – $40 to $200

Aside from disposables, using any of these vape devices will lead to extra costs. All reusable vapes need to have the coil replaced regularly. With some pod vapes, that will mean replacing the pod and the fixed coil within. Many high-power box mods come without batteries, so you’ll need to purchase those separately too. 

Thankfully, these vape accessories are either one-off purchases or relatively inexpensive. A five-pack of coils, which should last at least a month, will cost you around $12. Fixed-coil pods can be a little more expensive but are only about $3-4 each. 

Then there are the non-essential extras. A spare tank or pod for switching flavors, perhaps a new drip tip or protective case, or a spare battery and battery charger. You can spend a lot on vaping, but the important thing is that you aren’t required to. A twenty-dollar pod vape will supply your nicotine hit just as well as a hundred-dollar box mod. 

All in all, the additional expenses involved in vaping don’t add up to a lot. For a simple pod vape, you can add around $12-15 to the monthly cost. A more complex vape could require more expensive parts, but not by much.

Is Vaping Cheaper than Smoking - 1


How Much is Vape Juice?

The vape liquid in your device accounts for the highest percentage of the cost of vaping. It is the component for vaping that you will need to buy the most regularly, but as with the vape itself, there is a lot of variation in how much vape liquid costs. 

Pre-filled Disposable Vapes 

Disposable vapes are easy and convenient to use. But you pay for that convenience. And every time you buy a disposable, you’re also paying for the battery, case, and packaging, on top of the 2-14ml of vape juice inside it. This is the most expensive way to buy vape liquid, with an average cost of $1.30 per ml.

Bottled Vape Liquid

It’s possible to buy pods pre-filled with vape liquid, which works out to cost about the same as the liquid in a disposable. But if you’re using a refillable vape, you’ll be getting your e-liquid in bottles. Vape liquid in bottles is available in various sizes, from 10ml to 120ml, with the larger volume bottles working out to be the cheapest. Bottled vape liquid costs, on average, $0.43 per ml. 

DIY Vape Liquid

In general, making something yourself rather than going store-bought isn’t always the cheapest option. But with vape juice, mixing your own can save a considerable amount, at least in the long term. 

If you’re buying small amounts of the ingredients and mixing small amounts, it will work out to be expensive. But if you hit on the perfect flavor and can make it in larger volumes then you can achieve even more savings. Making ejuice yourself in larger batches can cut down the price to $0.10 per ml or less.


How Many Vape Puffs Equals One Cigarette?

It can be difficult to equate milliliters of vape liquid with a specific number of cigarettes when comparing the cost of smoking to vaping. That’s why many disposable vape brands estimate how long their devices last by the number of puffs. 

This is guidance only, as everyone smokes and vapes differently. The answer to how many puffs equals a cigarette really depends on the strength of the vape you use. For vape liquid that contains 20mg/ml of nicotine, it is often estimated that 15 puffs equal one cigarette. And by equal, we mean providing a similar amount of nicotine to your body. 

Of course, if your vape liquid is 50mg/ml, the number of puffs to equal a cigarette will be much less. The opposite is true if you use a 6ml/mg liquid. 

How you vape can also have an effect. Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) vapers won’t absorb as much nicotine per puff as Direct-Lung (DL) vapers do, because DL vapers usually inhale much more vapor with each draw. 

We have mentioned puff count estimates elsewhere in this article. But here are a few liquid volumes commonly talked about by vapers and vape brands, and how many puffs each equates to. 

  • 2ml (small disposable or vape pod size) = 500-600 puffs
  • 10ml (small liquid bottle or large disposable) = 3000-4000 puffs
  • 60ml (short fill vape liquid bottle) = 18000-20000 puffs
  • 100ml (large vape liquid bottle) = 30000-40000 puffs

Smoking Vs Vaping Costs Around the World

The cost of smoking, and vaping, varies widely around the world. We checked prices in several countries, and for most of them, vaping is cheaper than smoking. There might be exceptions, such as in countries where vaping is uncommon, but these seem few and far between. 

In the UK, a pack of 20 cigarettes can cost £18 ($22), although the average is probably closer to £12 ($15). A disposable 600-puff vape is around £5, and a 10ml bottle of 20mg/ml vape liquid can be as little as £3.

Australia, one of the most expensive places to be a smoker in the world, has recently seen a big increase in vaping and it’s easy to see why. The average price of a pack of cigarettes is now around $40aus ($27.) A 100ml bottle of vape liquid can be just $35aus ($23.) However, you’ll have to go to a doctor to be prescribed the nicotine to add to it (yep, you read that right, nicotine vape liquid is only available on prescription in Australia.)

Even in a country like Denmark, where vape juice is heavily taxed and cigarettes are relatively cheap, vaping works out cheaper. A pack of cigarettes costs around 70kr ($10), but 10ml of vape juice can be bought for 40kr ($6) or less.


Cost of Smoking Vs Vaping, Compared Side-by-Side

Now that you’ve seen the costs broken down for smoking and vaping, how about we compare these costs side-by side? The examples below should make it clear which of the two is cheaper in the long-term, not to mention better for your health (spoiler: it’s vaping!):

Cigarettes

20 per day @ $6.50 per pack

Cost per month: $195.00


Disposable Vapes

300 puffs per day

Cost per month: $30-$75.00


Pod/Pen Vape 

Initial Costs

  • Pod vape: $30 (includes one pod)
  • 60ml bottle of ejuice: $20.00
  • Pack of pods/coils: $12.00

Total: $62 for 1-2 months of vaping

Cost per month: $31-$62.00

Ongoing Costs

  • 60ml bottle of ejuice: $20.00
  • Pack of pods/coils: $12.00

Total: $32 for 1-2 months of vaping

Long-term Cost per month: $16-$32.00


Box/Battery Mod Vape

Initial Costs

  • Vape mod: $60.00
  • Vape tank: $30.00
  • 60ml bottle of ejuice: $20.00
  • Pack of coils: $12.00
  • 18650 batteries(x2): $15.00
  • Battery charger: $20.00

Total: $157 for 1-2 months of vaping

Cost per month: $78.50-$157.00

Ongoing Costs

  • 60ml bottle of ejuice: $20.00
  • Pack of coils: $12.00

Total: $32.00 for 1-2 months of vaping

Long-term Cost per month: $16-$32.00


The Bottom Line

As you can see, there is little doubt that vaping can cost considerably less than smoking and has the potential to save you thousands of dollars a year. Even with the most expensive vaping setup (a mod and tank), vaping is considerably cheaper than smoking in the long-term.

Even if you opt for the most advanced vape device and the highest-quality vape liquid, you are still going to see savings compared to buying cigarettes. Along with the other benefits of vaping vs smoking, saving money every month is a great reason to give vaping a try. 

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Versed Vaper Team

The Versed Vaper team are a group of passionate and experienced vapers who take pride in writing helpful, quality content about vaping. From deals, to news and reviews, we've got you covered on all things vaping. Remember to subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

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