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Traditional Cigarettes vs. Vaping: Which is More Costly?

E-cigarettes are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. Proponents of vaping devices cite several benefits: they don’t put off dangerous secondhand smoke, don’t contain the thousands of toxic chemicals that their traditional predecessors do, and depending on the device selected, are reusable. Vape pens and e cigarettes provide the sensation of smoking without unsatisfactory smells and toxic leftover cigarette butts.

Following vaping devices’ introduction to the U.S. market in 2007, consumers have seen an explosion of new electronic cigarette products, and a battle has emerged between traditional tobacco companies and vaping companies. We all have our bad habits, but smokers of traditional tobacco products have more to lose, in terms of health and money. Smoking can be a hard habit to kick, but luckily these new vaping devices are serving as a useful and cost-effective alternative for those who still seek a nicotine fix.

A Plethora of Options

Traditional cigarettes in the United States are generally offered in two flavors: tobacco and menthol. E-cigs and vaping devices offer various vape flavors that cater to a variety of tastes. From exotic fruity options to traditional tobacco-like flavoring, vaping serves as an excellent alternative to harmful tobacco products. This cache of flavors serves as yet another enticing reason to switch from traditional cigarettes to vaping, saving both your wallet and your health—plus the health of those around you.

Free from Taxes

One of the things that makes vaping a better economical option is the lack of taxes currently in place. Tobacco products are taxed heavily in the United States, making them an expensive habit. Cigarettes are taxed at both the federal and state levels, and they are subject to local and state sales taxes, and then additionally topped off with local cigarette-specific taxes. Depending on the state you reside in, tobacco excise taxes can range from 17 cents in Missouri to a whopping $4.35 in New York, and those numbers are only predicted to rise—it’s no wonder that the cost of tobacco products continues to skyrocket.

A Year of Tobacco

Let’s take a look at just how much a smoking habit can cost the average smoker in a year’s time. A pack of cigarettes costs around $6 in the United States on average, with many smokers paying above and beyond that number depending on their preferred brand. If you are a heavy smoker who regularly smokes a pack a day, you’re spending approximately $42 per week, which evens out to at least $168 per month. Multiply that number by 12 months, and you’ll find that in 52 weeks a daily smoker will shell out more than $2,000. So how does the overall cost of using e-cigarettes compare?

A Year of Vaping

While ongoing costs for vaping devices are dependent upon preference of device and frequency of use, the main investment for a first-time vape user comes with the purchase of a starter kit. These kits can range from $50 to upwards of $100, but once you’ve made that initial investment, the only necessary expenses following come in flavor chamber refills and e-liquid orders. One estimate from found that a pack-a-day smoker who used vaping devices could look to spend about $1,200 per year—nearly half of what traditional cigarettes cost. Another study showed that in order for vapers to get the full value of their initial investment would need to smoke their new e-cigarettes for a mere 51 days. That investment will be easily met within two months’ time, making e-cigarettes a more cost-effective option for habitual smokers.

The Cost of Convenience

Vaping devices are easily attained; if not yet as conveniently found as traditional cigarettes, they’re definitely on their way. They are available online via Amazon and hundreds of other outlets as well as in convenience and grocery stores. Convenience also extends beyond just buying a vaping device; vaping is currently allowed in a variety of venues which have outlawed smoking traditional tobacco products.

While e-cigarettes have higher upfront costs, for those with longstanding smoking habits, they’re a potentially healthier and more economically friendly option than traditional tobacco cigarettes. For regular smokers, vaping devices can mean a large amount of savings. Beyond the issue of price, they offer other incentives: no secondhand smoke, less waste, and purported health benefits. If you’re a smoker, it stands to reason that you could be saving a bundle by switching to a vaping alternative—and you might be saving your health in the process.

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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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The content on is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not financial advice and we are not certified financial advisors. strives to keep its information accurate and up to date, but it may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with companies listed on our site. We may receive compensation for the placement of sponsored products or services. We work hard to write authentic and accurate articles.