Vaping vs. Smoking: Which is Cheaper?

two hands with cigarettes in one and an e-cigarette in the other
Published on Jun 17, 2022
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Whilst we absolutely do not promote smoking or vaping, it is important to discuss whether or not one or the other is cheaper. With the cost of living constantly on the rise, we need to be saving money wherever we can.  

Aside from the clear health dangers, smoking is extremely expensive. Smokers spend enormous sums of money annually to support their habits, and it can become excessive. 

Over the last couple of years, vaping and e-cigarettes have become extremely popular and are now more widely seen than actual cigarettes. When you consider vaping as a substitute, certain e-cigarettes appear to be quite pricey, and some bottles of e-liquid cost as much as £25!

So, is the habit of vaping actually less expensive? 

What is Vaping?

An electronic cigarette, often known as a "vape," is a device that warms a liquid to produce vapour that you inhale. There are still several health hazards associated with vaping, despite the fact that it seems to be a healthier option than smoking cigarettes. 

The invention of the first item that nearly resembled the current e-cigarette is typically attributed to Herbert A. Gilbert. He claimed to have developed prototypes (perhaps without ever containing nicotine) and was granted a patent in 1965 after having filed for one in 1963, but he was unable to bring it to market. 

The first commercially successful electronic cigarette was actually created in Beijing in 2003 by a pharmacist of all people! 

Is Vaping Less Harmful Than Smoking?

Vaping users still face numerous health and safety risks even though many of these products typically use liquid that contains one-third to half the nicotine found in cigarettes—for instance, one JUULpod with a 5% nicotine strength is intended to replace an entire pack of cigarettes in terms of nicotine strength.

According to a new CDC study, nicotine, a stimulant that can impair the developing adolescent brain (which continues to grow until about 25 years of age), is present in many e-cigarettes even though it isn't usually disclosed on the label.

In the developing adolescent brain, nicotine use can impair regions that regulate mood, attention, and impulses.

How Much Does Vaping Cost?

Vaping is generally cheaper than smoking cigarettes. However, it does still come at a cost. You’ll first incur a one-time expense for the actual e-cigarette device and then continuing expenses for new coils and e-liquids as refills.

An excellent starter kit for an e-cigarette typically costs between £20 and £45. Instead of the large, bulky vape devices that vape fans use, which can cost up to £65, starter kits are best for people who have quit smoking recently or are trying to quit. 

Your first e-cigarette is likely to need to be replaced completely at least every 6 months. So in a year if we take a basic starter kit your total cost is likely to be £50 plus the cost of refills a year. 

Refills often come in 10ml bottles at a cost of £3/£10 each. You can get many different flavours from bubblegum to minty fresh! These usually last (depending on usage) between 3-4 weeks. So, multiply that by the 12 months in the year at the higher cost of £10, the cost is around £120. 

It does seem that vaping is likely to be a lot cheaper than smoking.

How Much Does Smoking Cost?

The cost of cigarettes has increased year on year and is constantly rising. This is not likely to change. 

The average cost of a pack of 20 cigarettes increased from £3.67 to £11.45 between 2000 and 2020. That represents a 212% growth, with 26% of that occurring in the past five years alone. It's very obvious that this number will continue to increase. 

This is likely a good thing because it's assisting in preventing young people (and people in general) from succumbing to the risks of cigarette smoking which we all know is bad for our health and those around us.

If you compare the cost of vaping per year to that of smoking there is a significant difference. Even if you’re only a ‘light’ smoker or ‘social’ smoker you’re likely spending around £2000/£300 per year on cigarettes. That’s an enormous amount in comparison with the cost of vaping.


Charlotte Marshall

Lead Editor

Being a full-time content writer and part-time shopaholic, globe-trotter and avid lover of all things food (and wine)...I love researching the best money-saving hacks so that I can help fuel my own passions, and yours!


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