Is Vaping Cheaper than Smoking?

If you're considering whether to make the switch from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarettes, one of the biggest factors is likely to be money. 

For people new to e-cigarettes, it can be challenging to estimate how much the switch will cost. You'll probably have many questions, including:

  • Which are cheaper - disposable e-cigs or vape starter kits?
  • How often will I need to spend money on e-liquid and coils?
  • Are vape products covered by the same tax regulations as tobacco cigarettes in the UK?
  • Will using e-cigarettes save me money in the long term? 

All of these are important questions that we will answer in this guide. Here, we've done our best to estimate how much you might spend on vaping compared to smoking. Keep in mind that our estimates have been generous - many vapers find that they spend less per year than we've approximated. 

To find out how much money you could save by switching to e-cigarettes, read on. 

How much does smoking cost?

First, let's take a look at the cost of smoking. 

In the past decade, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes has doubled. Announced last October in chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak's budget, the most expensive packets of cigarettes have increased in price by 88p, from £12.73 to £13.60. Even the cost of cheaper packs has risen by 63p to £9.73. Rolling tobacco now costs 30p extra at £9.02 for a 30g bag. 

And tobacco and cigarette prices have increased at a rate faster than inflation, with the price of tobacco increasing 50% relative to retail prices while household disposable incomes increased by only 5%. This means that tobacco has become 30% less affordable since 2008

Collectively, smokers now spend around £15.6 billion a year on smoking. But how much does an individual smoker tend to spend?

In the UK, smokers use on average 10 cigarettes a day. This means that the average smoker gets through one pack of cigarettes every two days. 

Considering that a cheaper pack of cigarettes can now cost £9.73, that equates to over £34 in a week or more than £1,775 in a year. 

If you prefer the more expensive £13.60 pack of cigarettes, this means a price of £47.60 per week or £2,475 per year. Yikes. 

Want to find out exactly how much you spend on smoking cigarettes? Use this NHS calculator.

How much does vaping cost?

The UK government currently taxes vaping products as standard consumer products at 20%. In contrast, cigarettes are taxed at the standard 20% plus an additional 16.5% of retail price, plus an extra £5.26 on a packet of 20 cigarettes

Right off the bat, it's clear that vaping has some financial advantages over smoking. However, it's hard to estimate the cost of vaping because of the wide range of types of hardware and vaping products which can vary significantly in price. Things like vape kits and box mods are larger upfront costs, but they'll last a long time, while e-liquids and coils may need replacing more frequently. 

To figure out the real cost difference between vaping and smoking, we're going to need to do some maths. 

Here are some pointers based on the vape products we stock at Vaping 101. 

Disposable vapes

Disposable vapes are often the first type of e-cigarette that a smoker will try. Small, discreet, and pocket-friendly, these vapes are an easy swap for cigarette use. 

With disposables ranging in price from £3.49 to £5.49 and lasting around 2 days, the cheapest disposable vapes can cost £12.22 per week or £635.18 per year. More expensive ones will set you back £19.22 a week or £999.18 a year. 

Let that sink in: even the most expensive disposable vape pens and pods are more than a third cheaper than the cheapest traditional cigarettes. 

And we're just getting started - disposable e-cigs are the most expensive way to vape.

Vape kits

A step up from disposable e-cigarettes, vape kits are e-cigarettes that feature a battery, tank or pod, coils, a drip tip, and a range of other components. While some starter kits such as vape pens or pod kits are perfect for beginners, others feature powerful batteries and advanced modes that make them suited for more experienced vapers. 

How much will a vape kit set you back? It varies on the type - starter kits and pod vape kits are likely to be a lot cheaper than both disposable e-cigarettes and more advanced options. 

For example, some of the cheapest vape kits we stock at Vaping 101 are pod kits such as the Voopoo Vinci Q Pod Kit (£9.99), the Aspire Vilter Pod Kit (£11.99), and the Uwell Popreel N1 Pod Kit (£11.99). 

Our most expensive vape kits include the Uwell Valyrian 3 Kit (£69.99), the Vandy Vape Pulse AIO 80w Kit (£69.99) and the dotMod dotAIO V2 Pod System (£84.99). 

Okay - some of the more high-end vape kits on the market can get pretty expensive, but keep in mind that they're a one-time cost. A good vape kit can last you years. Plus, the majority of our vape kits are in the range of £18-£40. That's equivalent to just a few weeks of buying regular cigarettes! 

Unlike disposable e-cigs, vape kits have other costs. You'll need to buy replacement coils if you're using a kit with a tank or new pods if you're using a pod kit, and you'll need to buy e-liquid as well. 

How much does e-liquid cost?

E-liquid usage varies a lot, depending on how frequently you vape and what sort of device you use it with. A vaper with a low powered vape pen may use as little as 1-2ml in a day, while someone with a pod system might find themselves using around 4-5ml and sub-ohm vapers using even more than that. 

To keep things simple, let's take a look at shortfills. Our 50ml e-liquid shortfills begin at £3.49 and are mostly in the range of £4-£11. Although they are nicotine free, they come with a free nicotine shot so you can mix the e-liquid to your desired nicotine concentration. 

To illustrate the cost of vaping over a year, let's use a high estimate and assume you get through 5ml of e-liquid a day. You will have to buy a new 50ml shortfill every 10 days. That's a new bottle 36.5 times a year. If you're buying one of our more premium bestsellers such as the Ohm Boy Botanics Range (£9.99) that's £364 a year. If you choose one of the larger bottles such as the 150ml Wick Liquor Juggernaut Shortfills (£16.99), you'll only need to replace your e-juice once a month and keep costs to just £206.71 per year. 

While this might seem a lot at first, remember that even the cheapest cigarettes can cost smokers £1775 a year. With vaping, e-liquid is one of the only ongoing costs beside the price of your vape itself. The other ongoing cost is your vape coils. 

How much do coils cost?

The average vaper will need to replace their coils once every 1-2 weeks. Very heavy vapers might even change coils as frequently as once every few days, while less frequent vapers may find that their coils last as long as a month. Let's assume that because you're getting through 5ml of e-liquid a day, you're a pretty frequent vaper and have to change your coils once a week. 

On average, packs of coils tend to cost around £6-£10. Let's assume that your coils come in packs of 4 and cost £8 a pack. That's £104 a year spent on coils. Combined with the few hundred pounds spent on e-liquid and the upfront cost of a vape kit, that's still significantly cheaper than a smoking habit.

Side note: the cheapest coils are the ones you make yourself - just buy a spool of coil wire and some wicking material and you can make many coils at a fraction of the cost. This is a great option for experienced vapers, but if you're new to the vaping world we recommend getting to grips with pre-built coils first.

What about mods and sub-ohm vapes?

One of the most expensive vaping habits is sub-ohm vaping, a type of vaping that produces the biggest vapour clouds but uses up a lot of e-liquid and power. This often requires powerful box mods and is popular among more advanced vapers. As a result of the increased e-liquid usage and the need for powerful mods, this type of vaping can be more expensive. 

However, it's still possible to get into high-powered vaping on a budget. At Vaping 101, we run a huge weekly sale to help you get the best deals on your hardware and vape juice. For more e-liquid deals, check out some of our multi-buy sales such as our 4 for £10 Vampire Vape e-liquids and 2 for £5 IVG nicotine salts. Check our deals page to stay up to date with the best cheap vape devices and e-liquids. 

So, is vaping expensive?

Although it may seem alarming to see the numbers on the page, the truth is that vaping using a vape kit is significantly cheaper than smoking. While even a generous estimate puts the cost of vaping at several hundred per year, smoking continues to be in the thousands. 

If you're trying to save money, switching from vaping to cigarettes is a great choice. 

But of course, cost isn't the only thing to consider when deciding whether to trade your cigarette for an electronic cigarette. There are a wealth of reasons why people choose vaping over smoking, including the flexibility, the wider variety of options, the community and hobby associated with vaping…we could go on - as we have done in our recent article!

Smoking vs vaping: the true cost

The costliness of smoking and vaping will never be the same for everyone - it depends on your consumption, your preferences, and even your suppliers. We wrote this guide to help you figure out how much money you can save by switching from smoking tobacco products to e-cigarettes. 

At the end of the day, there's one thing we believe you can't put a price on: your health. 

With scientific studies finding that vaping is far less harmful than smoking, electronic cigarettes are better for your health as well as your wallet. Switching to vaping reduces your risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and a whole host of other health issues. 

Think you're ready to quit smoking and try your first electronic cigarette? Buy one of our starter kits which we have carefully selected to provide the best experience for new vapers. Or, try one of our disposables today.

No matter which electronic cigarette you opt for, you can feel confident that your choice is saving you money and improving your health. Why not make the change today?

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