Smoking has become more expensive over the years. One reason for this is increased tax rates on tobacco products. Some argue that raising the cost of a pack of cigarettes can be an effective deterrent. The cost of a vaping device and e-juice, on the other hand, is comparatively less. This could offer one explanation for why more people are turning to vaporizers in an effort to quit smoking. Comparing the cost of vaping and smoking can provide an insightful perspective.
Before delving into the numbers, one aspect of the debate should be stated up front. Not all costs are monetary. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 16 million Americans currently suffer from a smoking-related illness. 480,000 of them will die this year. 41,000 of those deaths are attributed to second-hand smoke. 1,300 deaths per day in the US can be blamed on tobacco. There are no studies which support similar statistics for vaping.
Financing Illness: The Cost of Smoking
For those who appreciate the gravity of the numbers above, here’s an observation. Whatever one spends on tobacco products isn’t much different from financing serious illness. Think of it as a Health Savings Account in reverse. The payments are getting higher, too.
On April 1st, 2017, smokers in California saw the tax on a single pack of cigarettes rise from $0.87 to $2.87. All posted prices went up by two dollars. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on April 19th that the city would be raising the minimum price for a pack of cigarettes to $13, the highest in the nation. The ongoing trend in most states is to keep raising the cost of tobacco products.
In some states like Louisiana, a pack of cigarettes can still be purchased for a little over five dollars. The cost of cigarettes varies from state to state. In most states, tobacco users can expect to pay between $6 and $8 for a single pack. For the purposes of analyzing the costs, let’s assume an individual smokes one pack per day at a cost of $7. That amounts to $49 per week, $210 per month, or $2,555 per year. This number increases dramatically in states like New York and California.
Over 20 years, a smoker will spend over $50,000 on tobacco if the rate of $7 remained static. History has shown that it will not. More state governments are trying to address the health care costs of smoking by raising prices. The question is, are price hikes effectively curbing smoking?
How many times have you said:
When cigarettes hit ‘X’ dollars per pack, I’m quitting!
Did you? People who smoke just keep finding a way to rationalize the higher prices.
The Cost of Vaping
Admittedly, things get a little tricky when trying to pin down the cost of using a vaporizer. First, there is the cost of the device which can vary widely from rig to rig. Bottles of e-liquid can range from about the same cost as a pack of cigarettes to $30 or more for a designer blend. Above ohm vaping and sub ohm vaping can also affect the overall cost.
Let’s try to assign some averages to reach a point of comparison. We’ll start with the device itself which is a one-time purchase. A very modest kit which includes a mod and tank can be had for $50. The only ongoing expense for most modern vaporizers is coil replacement. Depending on how often one vapes, coils can last anywhere from one to three weeks. We’ll use the heavy end of the spectrum and assume that a sub ohm vaper is using a coil a week at an average cost of two dollars.
About 3ml of e-juice a day would be a good benchmark for most vapers. The cost of e-liquid can decrease when purchased in larger bottles. If a 60ml bottle is purchased for $30, this supply will last for approximately 20 days. That amounts to about $1.50 per day for e-juice. When applying the same math to coils, the cost is $0.29 per day. At $1.79 per day, the cost of vaping will be $12.53 per week, $53.70 per month, or $653.35 per year.
Those who choose an above ohm rig could find themselves paying slightly less than this figure. Some units require cartridges or atomizers with built-in coils that must be regularly replaced. Typically, vaping at above ohm levels requires less e-liquid than a sub tank.
A Final Analysis
Based on these assumed averages, vaping is far less expensive than smoking. The average vaper will spend $156.30 less than the average smoker each month. Sadly, there are some organizations which would like to change this by implementing higher taxes on e-liquids which contain nicotine.
Still, for the foreseeable future, vaping will remain a most cost-effective option for those who want to quit cigarettes. The average cost of a 14-day supply of nicotine patches in the United States is around $35, considerably higher than the cost of e-juice and coils for a vaporizer. This could explain why more individuals around the world are accepting vaping as a quitting aid.
It should also be noted that the studies which support vaping as safer than tobacco use continue to increase. In the final analysis, the real value of vaping could rest in its ability to reduce the exorbitant health care costs which are associated with smoking.