Vaping v Smoking: My conclusions

I have been asked to write an update about using electronic smoking products, as opposed to smoking ‘real’ cigarettes. So, Madelyn, this is for you. (And anyone else who is remotely interested.)

In 2012, Julie and I both gave up smoking. That’s not strictly true, as we actually gave up smoking real cigarettes, and switched to the electronic alternatives instead. Less chemicals, no carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide. Few (if any) cancerous by-products, and absolutely no odour on our clothes, or in our house. Our main reason was financial, we make no secret of that. The cost of tobacco cigarettes was getting out of proportion, and exceeding our ability to justify spending such a large part of our income on them.

After a couple of years, we switched from the electronic cigarette ‘lookalikes’ to vaping machines that use separate fluid. The main reason for this was because the smaller batteries were unreliable, and there was a lack of choice in the range of flavours. However, this also brought an unexpected reduction in costs too, making it even cheaper to keep away from ‘real’ smoking.

So just how much do we save? Is it worth switching to vaping, purely in monetary terms? To show just how much you could save, (and without going on about the additional health benefits) I will give an example of one typical year. Of course, you have to allow for the setup costs of buying the vaping devices. But once they are out of the way, daily costs are minimal, compared to the equivalent for cigarettes. Here is one year, broken down purely in financial terms. I am allowing for two of us using vaping devices here. If you are one person, you can halve these figures.

Conventional cigarettes. (UK prices for Marlboro Red/ Lucky Strike.)

Approx £9 per packet. ($11.27 US) This is the lowest estimate, at current prices.

Me. Ten packets weekly.
Julie, Six packets weekly.
Weekly cost. £129 ($161.62 US)
Annual cost. £6,708 ($8,404 US)

Vaping. Prices based on buying online, from Amazon, and other online retailers.

Kangertech Evod Mega devices X 6 units (Three each, so we have spare batteries)

Cost £19-£26 each, depending on retailer. Say £22 ($27.50 US) each for the sake of this post.
Total. £132 ($165.37 US)
Fluid to fill devices at around £1.50 a bottle.
Me. Three bottles weekly.
Julie. two bottles weekly.
Weekly cost. £7.50 ($9.40 US)
Annual cost. £390 ($488.51 US)
Replacement heating coils for vaping devices.
We use around four each week, between us. They cost £1.20 ($1.50 US) each.
Weekly cost. £4.80 ($6 US)
Annual cost. £249.60 ($312.65 US)

Total cost for vaping in one year, for two people. £804.97 ($1009 US)
Divide by two for one user. £403 ($505 US)
Second and subsequent years. Remove the initial cost of vaping devices by deducting the £132, and annual costs come down to an average of £673 ($843 US) for two people. So, the saving is easy to work out.

First year saving. £5,903 ($7,394 US) For two people
Second and subsequent years savings. £6,035 ($7,560 US) for two people.

I think that the sums are right, but feel free to tell me if I have made an error. Even if I am out by a little, you can see that the cost differences are immense. If nothing else, you will have a great deal more money in your pocket. You may still have to face being addicted to nicotine, but you will not be inhaling hundreds of other poisonous cocktails present in the normal cigarette smoke. You will also have something to hold, something to put into your mouth, and a device that fulfills the secondary desires of most smokers, as well as the primary one. That of inhaling nicotine in vapour.

For my wife and I, it has been a success story. We have not had a cigarette since September, 2012, and see no reason why we would ever go back to them. It is not, ‘Not Smoking’, I make no claim for that. But it is without doubt safer smoking, and incredibly cheaper too.
There are hundreds of devices available, in many styles and sizes. I only mention the brand we chose for cost estimation purposes.

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50 thoughts on “Vaping v Smoking: My conclusions

  1. I am also writing a blog on quitting smoking by using vaporizers. I was trying to figure out the monetary value and savings of smoking to that of vaping and it sounds like you’re making out pretty good. I go through one $20 bottle every four days so it is cheaper than buying a pack of cigarettes at $6 a pack every day. But it sounds like you are getting cheaper bottles than me. Maybe because you but online? Anyway I would greatly appreciate it if you would follow me or check out my blog. Either way thank you for your inspirational writings. -bel 🙂 hope to hear from you or maybe we could work together on something

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have written quite a lot on this blog about electronic cigarettes and giving up smoking. It sounds as if your fluid is more expensive there that in the UK. (At least online in the UK) If you cannot get the fluid cheaper than $20, then just embrace the fact that you are taking the much healthier option, and saving a little in the process. real cigarettes are twice as expensive here, so the savings are greater. I will follow your blog, and try to give you some encouragement.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I quit smoking 9 years ago and have never looked back. I never did learn to vape and never tried it but I am assuming there is still some expense involved with it although I do not have a clue. I do know I am saving thousands of dollars because of quitting tobacco and I can also now walk down a city street without coughing my head off so to speak. Quitting has been worth it for me and it was all made possible by my local Veterans’ Medical Center and their smoking cessation program. I am glad you too have escaped the clutches of killer tobacco and are enjoying your smoking substitute. I have no way of knowing but I will wager your quality of life is much better for having escaped tobacco. Good job, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That cost difference is substantial and I’m glad it has got you and Julie of “real cigarettes”. I think it was 1999 I gave up smoking and I’m glad vaping wasn’t around then or I’d still be looking for that nicotine fix. Mind you, I do have the very occasional cigar. (Once in a blue moon).

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  4. Thank you so much for the update, Pete. Well done. Sorry it took a while for me to get over to see it, since you did it now only because of my request. WOW – the cost comparison is heart stopping (or maybe heart starting?).

    In the US, Marlboros (and most cigs) are around $7 a pack (6.62 Euro; 5.61 British Pound, according to Google) – more in NYC, of course, and there are almost always coupons and sales in “the hinterlands” if you are not picky about brand.

    That is still insane, when you really think about it, but not quite as crazy as the current cost where you are. (Imported cigs like Dunhills are considerably more, even here, btw). Although I basically approve of “luxury taxes,” it doesn’t make it any easier to fork it over.

    What really blew my mind was the comparison by year. Unless you are right on the poverty line, it is easy to tell yourself it doesn’t seem like so much day to day or week to week — over a year it’s gotta’ hit home for anybody. HARD.

    Using your figures, $7K would keep my lights and internet on all year, with enough left over to take myself out for a few REALLY nice dinners (with a bottle of really good wine as well). Along with giving it ALL up, I could buy a trendy outfit at an upscale shop for each of my dinners – and maybe a really great pair of new shoes and a nice shampoo and cut from a great hairdresser to get me ready for my closeup (Mr. DeMille) 🙂

    Perspective is all, huh? This is a great article that offers more than a little of that. Thanks for the time I know it took to put it all together and get it on the web. Now I really want to do some follow-on posts to my last one – and I will definitely be recommending and linking to THIS one – when I get “a round tuit” of course. 🙂

    I don’t believe you celebrate it in the UK, but Happy Valentines Day either way. Take some of that lovely money and buy your wife some flowers and candy (and a nice bottle of Shiraz for yourself). Pretend it’s from me.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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    1. Thanks, Madelyn. I am very pleased that you got so much from this post.
      We do celebrate Valentine’s Day. I got Julie a card and some small gifts, and she got me a card and a bottle of Merlot. I happily had that before and during dinner, which I prepared.
      I am content that my financial comparison was able to drive home the real issue of how much can be saved. Even at US prices, the savings are considerable.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Let me guess — diamond earrings?

        Just kidding – I never received anything but small gifts on Valentines Day either – not really how its done here among those of us who are not mega-rich (no idea what they do here, never having moved much in those circles).

        And I was always beyond thrilled with a card and a single rose, btw. Especially from a few starving artists I dated for whom even that was a reach at times.

        Thank goodness my beaus were all wine or spirits drinkers – I have no idea what smallish gift I might have given in return otherwise.

        Re: cigs – When I lived in Manhattan – many years back now, before the smoking ban inside public places – a pack of Dunhills was $5.00 (4.01 where you are) – before tax. And I thought that was outrageous at the time.

        Sure puts “fixed income” in capital letters, doesn’t it?
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Good for you Pete, just left me know when they start taxing the hell out of it in the UK, I’ll start sending them from Poland, smuggled in soap!
    10 No6 cost me 30p when I started, and probably close to a tenner (for 20) when I stopped, but by then I was a roll up man and getting tobacco from any dodgy source available to me. Thankfully, despite the £2 a pack price here in Poland I managed to give up with only a few moments of indiscretion with visiting friends from my chequered past 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eddy mate, I have to be honest. At £2 a pack, I would be the heaviest smoker in Poland!
      (Shows just how much I am not really ‘cured’…)
      Well done for resisting. Malina will thank you for it.
      You are a credit to English resolve!
      Cheers mate, Pete.

      By the way, the new chunky bars of Castile are great. I can get a good grip on them, and they are managing to subdue a recent flare-up of my itchy skin problem. Nice oil content, tell Gosia.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I quit on my birthday. I was thinking about vaping, but chose not too. What I’ve done is take the $ I would have spent for a pack of cigs and put it in my copper pot in my kitchen. Then I treat myself when the pot is full. 7 grand a year! Wow! That’s a trip to Tahiti. I’m glad it’s working out for you two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cindy. Glad to hear that you were able to stop.
      As with most things in life, something else came along to use that money on. Car repairs, problems with the central heating, and not least lots of trips and treats for Julie’s grandson.
      So no trip to Tahiti, but a little more financial stability all the same.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Cigarettes are very expensive in UK, but wait until you see the prices in Norway …
    Funnily enough, I have never met anyone in Norway vaping and hardly ever one in Germany either.
    Best regards from the North x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dina. As I understand it, almost everything in Norway is more expensive than in the UK. One of the reasons I have never visited your country.
      Vaping is taxed in some countries, and banned in others. No doubt if enough people in the UK stop smoking, the government will have to raise the tax by adding extra costs to vaping.
      Love from Beetley, Pete and Ollie. X

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I gave up for 2 years using an ecig, but had a habit of leaving them in a jeans pocket and then putting them in the washing machine, which killed the ecigs 😕 because Phil still smoked, it was easy to get the nicotine hit from his packet whilst I waited for the replacement to arrive in the post. But by the time it had I was more and more back into the real thing. I am ashamed to say it, but gradually became a smoker again. Phil has now decided it’s his time to give up, so I’m sending off for another ecig and spare, wish us luck. For us it’s not so much about the money, though nowadays that’s a big motivation too, but wanting to be OK as we get into our 60’s, to enjoy getting out and about and not struggling with health issues. I applaud you for sticking with it, hope we can do the same.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The vape style with the separate fluid is much better than the cartridge-style e-cigs. It is more satisfying, and the battery lasts all day before charging. You also get a wider range of strengths and flavours.
      To be honest, if I can stick with them, anyone can. I was a real ‘hard-core’ smoker, as anybody who knows me will tell you.
      Hope it goes well. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Like John Rieber, I’m a nonsmoker. In fact, I’ve never had a single lit cigarette in my mouth. Nevertheless, I read your post with interest. I did work in the casino industry for nine years, and during that time had to put up with second-hand smoke. Fortunately, those days are long over. Unlike John Rieber, I rarely drink wine (or any alcohol). My beverage of choice for a number of years now is PG Tips tea or (when I can afford it) Perrier. What interested me most in your post was the cost associated with smoking “real” cigarettes. That’s one huge chunk of change! If I smoked, I wouldn’t quit cold turkey, I’d quit cold wallet….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Taxation in the UK increased the cost of cigarettes by one third over a few years. When I first started smoking anyone could afford to smoke, but it has become an expensive luxury now. Many people who are not well-off still smoke though. They sacrifice other things to buy cigarettes, or purchase illegal imports from Eastern Europe that are smuggled in tax-free.
      Stopping smoking allowed us to run two cars, one of them bought new, in 2015. That would not be possible if we both still bought cigarettes.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I want to assure you that I am thrilled that you have stopped smoking “real” cigarettes. I’ve heard that the lungs can eventually repair much of the damage inflicted by tobacco over the years, and so, some five years later, I hope you do feel healthier. The next best thing you do, besides not smoking “real” cigarettes, is walking Ollie every day. That is wonderful exercise—also good for the lungs! It’s imperative that you stay healthy, Pete. I’m looking forward to another 25 years (or more) of beetleypete posts!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. If I manage another 25 years of posts, there will be a special one celebrating my 90th birthday, David. I might have to dictate it to someone by then though! (If I still remember who I am of course…)
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I’ve been meaning to send you an email update. I’m having success with the vaping ‘machine’ but I’m not entirely off. I’m down to about five cigarettes a day and the rest of the time I vape. The reason is that having bought the Kanger on your recommendation, while it gives exactly the ‘hit’ I need, it’s so heavy and cumbersome for my fingers. I also bought what another friend recommended because it was cigarette size but that’s like smoking Silk Cut i.e. mostly air! I am confident I’ll crack it eventually but if you hear word of a light, cigarette-sized vape that gives the satisfaction of the Kanger, let me know. Thanks for the update.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. As a nonsmoker my entire life, I appreciate the insight into your history of smoking, but the cost. I drink wine, and enjoy it immensely – do NOT ask me to add up the cost! If this new way to smoke satisfies you AND save money with health benefits to boot, I say “vape on!”

    Liked by 3 people

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