Is Vaping Cheaper Than Smoking?

Among claims by e cig manufacturers is this one: that vaping is cheaper than smoking. These companies claim that costs are far reduced if you give up cigarettes and turn to vaping devices, whether mini cigs or eGos; APVs or mods. You could save hundreds or more than $1,000 in a year. Is vaping cheaper or is that a con? Consider the evidence.

What’s the Cost of Smoking?

How much does a package of cigarettes cost? This varies from state to state (and so do costs of vaping according to how much competition there is). If a package of 20 cigs costs $6, you are getting a pretty good deal because it is common to pay double figures. Packages in a carton are cheaper than each package purchased singly.

Meanwhile, e cig companies claim you can puff for the equivalent of 1 ½ to 2 packages of cigarettes on a single battery and one cartridge.

Spurious Claims?

Is this true? Could you puff for the equivalent of a full package and more on a single cartridge containing up to 1 ml of e liquid? That question is also difficult to answer.

For a start, each mini cig company’s cartridges are a little different and their batteries are of different quality. It’s more likely that you will enjoy up to 1 ½ packages or less from one cartridge and there are times when a cartridge arrives empty or incomplete, although that should be rare and big companies compensate customers when this happens.

Price of a Cartridge

Still looking at e cig cartridges, most of these are priced a little over $2 each: about $2 per ml, essentially. If they were to provide as many puffs as 1 ½ packages of cigarettes, that works out to around $1.50 per pack. The price range is pretty wide: from about $9 to $19.99 per package of 5, with e liquid quality ranging widely too.

Price of Vaping

But the cartridge is just one part of your equation. Add a battery and chargers at the very beginning and expect to replace your rechargeable battery by the end of the year, probably the end of 6 months.

If you buy a regular 2-battery starter kit for $50, the price of a package of cigarettes works out to $3.33 (based on a 10-cartridge kit, each cartridge equal to 1 ½ packs.) You’re still paying far less than you did to smoke cigarettes, and this is only the beginning.

Now imagine you bought an eGo battery of some kind, maybe a kit, and are now refilling a 2-ml clearomizer as well. The clearomizer costs around $10 and is rebuildable so you only have to replace the atomizer head regularly. Your battery should last the equivalent amount of time and costs only marginally more than a mini cig battery.

The price of a kit is $50, plus you add $5 for e liquid and $5 for shipping: that brings you to a total of $60. Based on the math used above (1 ml of e liquid lasts the same length of time as 1 ½ packages of cigarettes) you get the equivalent of 15 packages of cigarettes for $60. That’s $4 per package at first, which makes it seem like you pay more to vape with bigger batteries, but only at first.

As you continue, the long term cost comes down. Now, instead of $2 per ml you pay $0.50 per ml. At that rate, 1 ½ packages of cigarettes costs 50 cents. Your electricity bill will be higher because you are charging the battery, so work that out too, but even with that additional cost, starting from $1 for 3 packages, it’s hard to lose.

Here’s a graphic showing the cost difference with V2 from their website:

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