Analyzing the Costs of Vaping and Smoking

Whether you’re looking to quit smoking and pick up vaping, or doing research for a loved one, I am going to help you with a breakdown of the costs between vaping and smoking cigarettes. Unlike a pack of cigarettes, the world of “vapes” is quite complicated, and it’s difficult for a newcomer to accurately assess how much money they’d be spending as they transition over. So let me break it down for you 🙂

For starters, a bit about myself. I was a heavy smoker about a decade ago, to the point that I was smoking about a pack per day. When I finally began to dabble in vaping, the industry wasn’t as large and had as many options as there are today. Throughout my journey as a vapor, I’ve likely spent thousands, as I tried to figure out what works best for me, and what’s the best value for your buck. I’ll be sharing all this expertise with you guys.

How much does smoking cigarettes cost?

We’ll begin by calculating how much money we spend as a smoker. Based on WiseVoter, the average cost for a pack in the USA is $7.14. The next step is estimating how many packs we smoke on a yearly basis:

  • 1 pack per day: $214.20 per month or $2,570.4 per year
  • 1 pack every 3 days: $71.4 per month or $856.80 per year
  • 1 pack per week: $28.56 per month or $342.72 per year

The “upside” of smoking cigarettes is that you really only need the pack of cigs + a lighter and you’re good to go. Unlike vaping where there are more frequent expenses. We aren’t going to bake in the cost of a lighter in our estimates above since it would be negligible, since lighters are usually very cheap, and they last for a while.

How much do I pay to vape?

For this section, we are going to look at what I pay to vape, so I’ll be sharing the exact equipment that I personally use. Remember….there is a lot of freedom when it comes to selection for vaping.

The biggest upfront cost when it comes to vaping is the device that you buy. In some cases, the device you use can last for a few months, and in other cases, it can last for a few years.

My device is the Smok Nord 40 RPM. This is a $25 device, and I’ve had it for 4 years now.

vape mod

Before we proceed, I want to quickly explain what makes up a vape. A vape requires:

  • Mod: This is the big part of the “vape”. What you usually charge, and it houses a battery. So the mod is responsible for providing energy to generate the vapor.
  • Tank: This is where your liquid resides. If you use a device that you can refill yourself, then you are refilling your tank.
  • Atomizer: This is a piece of metal that sits inside your tank, it usually has a cotton-like substance inside of it, which absorbs the liquid inside the tank.

When you press the button of your mod to prepare for a pull, then the mod will heat up your atomizer, which will vaporize whatever liquid inside the cotton into vapor, and then you inhale the vapor.

That is what a vape device is all about.

Going back to the device that I purchased. With the purchase, you receive the mod, tank, and atomizer/coil. So in the past 4 years, I haven’t had to replace the mod or the tank. But, I have had to constantly replace the atomizer. Usually with such devices, you can expect to change the atomizer every 2-4 weeks.

atomizer for vaping

The atomizer for this particular device is $12 for 4 of them. So if we’re replacing the atomizer every 3 weeks, then we would need 17 of them for a whole year, which would come out to $52 per year in atomizers.

Now it’s finally time to price the most expensive part of vaping, which is the e-liquid itself. Similar to smoking cigarettes, the amount you pay for e-liquid will come down to how often you vape, and how “premium” you want your e-liquid to be. The only thing to really separate one e-liquid from another is simply the flavor.

Personally, I vape A LOT. I work from home….which means I can take pulls on the vape whenever I want, and I tend to do just that.

vape juice

This e-liquid is an example of the sort of e-liquids that I would typically buy. It’s about $17 for 60ml. It takes me about one week to go through the whole bottle. This means that for a whole year, I would pay $884 in vape juice! Yep, that’s a lot! But keep in mind, when I said that I vape a lot, I mean it. So I would say that at the very most you’d be paying $884 per year, but it’s very likely that you will end up paying half of that per year depending on your habits.

Let’s tally up all the costs:

Cost of Mod per year – $6.25/year (I took the cost of the mod, and divided it by the number of years I’ve been using it)

Cost of atomizers per year – $52/year

Cost of e-liquid per year – $884/year

Total = $942.25 per year has been my cost to vape. 

Let’s compare it to the cost of smoking cigarettes again:

  • 1 pack per day: $214.20 per month or $2,570.4 per year
  • 1 pack every 3 days: $71.4 per month or $856.80 per year
  • 1 pack per week: $28.56 per month or $342.72 per year

With a quick eyeball, I can comfortably say that if you manage to smoke a pack every day, or every 2 days, then you will save money by switching to vaping. If you smoke more rarely, then vaping will either be of equal cost, or possibly more. But if you are smoking a pack of a week, then logic would say that you should be vaping infrequently as well, which would in turn lead to less e-liquid purchase.

For me personally, I went from spending $2,500+ a year to smoke to spending under $1,000 per year to vape. In addition to the benefit of being able to breathe properly after running, and not smelling bad constantly, and all the other added benefits.

Mark Ortiz

My name is Mark and I started ReviewingThis back in 2016 as an outlet for me to review products that I've personally tried! Throughout the years, I've also brought in several new writers that wanted to share their personal experiences as well. All the reviews you'll find here have been personally reviewed my someone on the team!

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