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Is Vaping Cheaper Than Smoking?

6th Oct 2021

Man Vaping While Holding Cigarette PackSmokers want to quit for three main reasons. The first is clear and scientifically proven - to drastically improve their short and long-term health. Next, it’s to protect those around them, preventing the damage of passive smoke causing illness to others - in particular children and pregnant women. Finally, the third reason is to save money. One of the best ways to quit smoking for good and not face a relapse is through vaping.

The initial financial numbers may seem overwhelming when you consider all the different parts you have to buy for replacing cigarettes with e-cigarettes. Not just the device itself, but all the replaceable coils, e-liquids and batteries required. However, the bottom line is that vaping is still much cheaper than smoking, at least long-term.

Nevertheless, despite its reported benefits as an alternative to smoking, vaping is still perceived as expensive. But what are the costs you incur when picking up an e-cigarette? Will it cost more than a pack when you make the initial switch? V2 Cigs explores the key differences weekly, monthly and annually to your wallet. Plus, we consider the financial impact on the UK economy and health system (NHS).

How Much is a Vape Kit?

Vape kits, whether sold as a bundle with everything you need or individually in parts to replace used components vary in price. Factors for these fluctuations in cost are based on the manufacturer brand, the kit you desire, quality of the product and demand. Below is a brief rundown of the different types of devices, or if you’re new to vaping - check out our extensive guide, explaining everything you need to know about the different types of device:

  1. Starter All-In-One (also referred to as AIO kit). This includes your battery, coil and tank/chamber with e-liquid pre filled or empty for the vaper to refill themselves. Prices start at £15.
  2. Pod kit. Compact, slightly wider and shorter than an AIO kit (or vape pen). Comes with an empty pod on top of the device you can fill, with magnetically fitted pre filled pods from the likes of Voom or RipTide also available. Prices range from £20-40.
  3. Vape mod kit. An advanced device with numerous technical features to tailor the experience personally, trying different settings such as increasing the wattage or temperature control to get the best vape. Tank in kits included and attached separately, also sold individually when they need replacing, with coils sometimes attached or easy to install coils sold separately. £30-80 for the mod kit.

When you switch to e-cigarettes, you have to spend a bit more upfront to get your gear, particularly if you’ve never vaped before. So vaping is not cheaper in hindsight compared to one pack of cigarettes when you compare all the costs of an e-cigarette.

However, there are plenty of cheap and beginner-friendly vapes out there, so even though the cost of an e-cig is a bit more than a pack of cigarettes to start with, over time, you’ll start to see the savings pile up! You always need to consider the gains to your health and factor in the costs long-term to see the full impact of switching to vaping.

Broken Cigarette Next to a Vaping Device

For beginners, you can easily get your hands on a quality vape pen or e-cigarette starter kit for around £20, and with a few cartridges or starter e-liquids to get you started, they should last you a couple of weeks depending on how much you vape. If you’re looking to invest a bit more heavily upfront, you can get a solid more advanced vape mod device for around £30 and a quality e-liquid to go with it for about £7.

What About E-Cigarette Refill Prices?

You may also need to pick up certain accessories and parts for your vape on a semi-regular basis. For those of you using vape mods and more advanced e-cigarettes, you’ll need to change your coils regularly. The coil is the part of your vape that heats up to create vapour from your e-liquid and should be replaced, on average, every two weeks, though this varies depending on how often you vape and the kind of device you have.

Vape coils cost around £12 for a pack of 5, depending on the brand you select. SMOK for instance offers a wide range of coils in different shapes, designed with high-quality metal material for generous cloud production and flavour. The life of a vape coil depends on how well you take care of them in use, priming them correctly before vaping to maintain a good working order - swapping every week or two before they get a burnt taste.

You may need to replace your batteries at some point as well. This can be every three months for smaller, less expensive devices or only every 18 months or so for a quality vape model. Batteries can cost anywhere from £10-20, so in the interest of fairness, let’s call it £15 every six months.

The average vaper will get through around 10ml of e-liquid per week, which is about £7 for a high-quality vape juice like the V2 Vsavi Platinum range. That’s £364 per year on e-liquids, a fraction of the cost of smoking! Even if you’re a heavy vaper and spend double this on e-liquids, the monthly cost of your e-liquid will still only be around £56, compared to the £250 per month that smokers will spend on cigarettes, as estimated by ASH.

Top tip for additional saving: Sign up for promotional emails and follow your favourite vaping companies social media accounts to get the best deals offered on holidays and events such as Black Friday or Stoptober.

Vaping vs Smoking Costs Breakdown

Over time is where your costs plummet when vaping, compared to smoking! Like smoking, the amount you spend on e-cigarettes will change based on the brands you prefer and how often you use them. Some of the cheapest brands offer e-liquids for less than £1, but when it comes to budget options, you do get what you pay for, and you’re far better off sticking with vaping by spending a little more on good vape juice, rather than switching back to a traditional smoking habit.

What are Cigarette Prices in the UK?

Since smoking began in the UK, the price of a cigarette pack increased massively. Now set at the highest cost in Europe, the average smoker in the UK goes through 11 cigarettes per day, creating not only a dangerous habit but one at a very high cost! The latest stats show:

  • Prices per cigarette pack vary, with the recent Budget announcement highlighting an increase of 88 pence for the most expensive packet, from £12.73 to just over £13.60 a pack. Rolling tobacco has also increased, from £8.14 to £9.02. Duty rates on rolling tobacco products increase by RPI plus 6% while all other products increase by RPI plus 2%. If you think the average smoker uses 11 a day, that’s four packs a week, spending just over £50 weekly on the expensive packs!
  • According to the latest research from ONS (the Official National Statistics), they state that smoking prevalence is at its highest since 1974

Infographic Highlighting Cost of Smoking to the UK

Now with over three million e-cigarette users, could the electronic tool be the reason for this?

Costs of Smoking to the UK Economy and NHS

Despite the rise in popularity of vaping, costs of smoking to the NHS are still high with more than 6.9 million adults over the age of 18 smoking in the UK. A 2015 study estimated that the cost to the NHS of smoking was a massive £2.6 billion! Although it has dropped to £2.5 billion in the latest 2019 study, that's still dangerously high on a stretched budget already impacted by Brexit. With the latest Tobacco Control Plan expected soon, announcing further plans for the ‘Smoke-Free by 2030’ initiative, there is still much work ahead! When the cost of smoking to the NHS continues to impact the UK economy and public health, no wonder they recommend alternatives such as e-cigarettes to bring down costs.

To find out more about how vaping can help you cut down nicotine and quit smoking for good, take a look at our range of excellent beginner vape kits for smokers or get in touch with our customer service team to see how we can help you get started on your vape journey!