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Is vaping cheaper than smoking cigarettes?

If you’re looking for a short answer, it’s yes—and in innumerable ways. From the cost to your health to your wallet to the planet that you inhabit, shifting to e-cigarettes has countless positive benefits.

We’ll start with the most significant one:

If you want to know the greatest cost of smoking cigarettes, it’s simple: the harm inflicted on the human body. As reported by the Center for Disease Control, tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease. Ultimately, no dollar amount can quantify the loss of health. As an alternative to smoking, vaping gives provides you the nicotine that is the main addictive ingredient in cigarettes and, in doing so, add unparalleled value to your life.

But the benefits of making the switch from cigarettes to vaping extend beyond this. Not only will this lifestyle choice favourably impact your health, but also your wallet—not to mention the surprisingly beneficial ramifications it will have on the environment.

First things first, let’s analyze the cost difference through a look into what smoking cigarettes makes you cough up when it comes to your monthly budget:

Smoking vs Vaping: The cost to your wallet

How much smoking cigarettes really costs

If you’re a smoker, it will be no secret to you that cigarettes have more than one way to burn a hole in a pocket. How big that hole might be, however, may be the source of some alarm.

Based on data drawn from the Center for Disease Control , the cost of ten years of smoking for a pack-a-day smoker is approximately $22,920(USD)—and that was in mid-2019.

It’s not likely necessary to spell out how many trips, car payment and/or designer boots you could purchase for that sum—let alone what that amount of money could do for you if you were to invest it wisely.

(If you’re looking for a useful tool to assess the precise amount you spend on cigarettes, head over to this handy cost calculator brought to you by the Canadian government.)

So how does vaping fare in comparison? Is it really a cost-friendly alternative?

The answer is yes, vaping is astronomically cheaper than cigarette smoking.

In a study by the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association, the cost of smoking a refillable device is approximately AUS$1,150 in comparison with the AUS$10,580 per year bill footed by a pack-a-day smoker.

That’s a difference of AUS$9,000 per year.

But to reap the best possible benefits of these savings, it’s important that you choose your vaping device wisely—and when you take into consideration the costs of all types, refillable is the way to go.

Refillable versus pre-filled vaping options

When it comes to everything from dish soap to beer, consumers are waking up to the environmental and monetary benefits of refillable options.

Vaping is no different. 

While the initial cost of refillable pods is greater than that of pre-filled pods, sometimes as much as the difference between $50 and $5, the refillable options soon take over when it comes to cost-efficiency. When you only have to buy the e-liquid rather than the device itself, your day-to-day costs drop substantially.

But monetary issues are not the only concerns when it comes to selecting vaping options—the cost to our planet is one we can no longer ignore.

Smoking vs Vaping: The cost to the environment

There is a great deal of discussion about the effects of smoking on human health—and these cannot be overstated. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 7 million deaths per year, with smokers dying on average 10 years earlier than non-smokers.

But while the human cost is often brought to the fore, the environmental impact of cigarette smoking often slips under the radar. From the litter caused by cigarette butts to the harmful effects of cigarette production on everything from the air we breathe, to the water we consume to the soil we grow our food in, the negative ramifications of cigarette smoking are rampant.

4 ways cigarettes destroy the environment

1.    Litter, litter, litter

If you have ever had the misfortune of finding yourself surrounded by cigarette butts while visiting an otherwise exquisite natural wonder, you will need no convincing about the ruinous cigarette butts have on the environment. Cigarette butts can take decades to break down and, according to a study by Anglia Ruskin University, are the planet’s largest source of litter caused by human activity. The study also reveals that cigarettes as a form of litter have adverse impacts on soil, ultimately hampering plant growth. The result is that the casual toss of a cigarette has negative repercussions that will last long after the box is smoked.

2.    Air pollution from smokers

Walking behind a smoker or being in the same indoor space as someone who has just lit up will quickly reveal to you the negative effects smoking has on the air we breathe. In fact, cigarette smoke causes 10 times more air pollution than diesel car exhaust fumes. When one takes this into consideration, it’s hard to see cigarette smoking as anything other than a selfish act.

3.    Environmental Effects of Cigarette Production

What’s more, the air pollution caused by smoking is not simply the product of a smoker’s exhale. In the World Health Organization’s 2017 report on the environmental impact of tobacco, they assess the impact of tobacco products from start to finish, concluding that it is an “overwhelmingly polluting and damaging process.” From the air pollution created through cigarette factories to the deforestation necessary for tobacco growth, the environmental effects of cigarette production are hard to justify.

4.    Pesticides, toxic waste and the contamination of our waterways

The production of cigarettes results in an astronomical amount of toxic waste that gets into our soil and waterways, contaminating our plants, killing sea life and ultimately destroying the biodiversity of affected areas. Because the tobacco plant is vulnerable to a host of pests that want to devour it, the use of chemical pesticides in the growing process is common. These are hazardous to farm labourers who come into direct contact with them—and ultimately to all of us when the waste has nowhere to go.

Sadly, this is merely a taster of the disastrous effects of cigarette smoking on the environment. For more information on the environmental impacts of tobacco production, have a look at this fact sheet produced by ACT (Action on Smoking and Health) in the UK.

Vaping as a more environmentally friendly option

E-cigarettes provide a far more environmentally friendly option that bypasses many of the most detrimental effects of cigarettes. In this Natural Geographic analysis, the possibilities of vaping as an environmentally-friendlier option to cigarettes is proposed.

The analysis concludes with an important takeaway:

“It’s obvious that quitting smoking is difficult, so maybe there is value to a product that may or may not cause some harm, but that helps one stop using a product that we know causes harm.”

Which would you prefer?

Switching from cigarettes to vapes

Even with all of this information at your disposal, quitting cigarette smoking can be extremely challenging. That’s why vaping exists. Created as an alternative to smoking, the vape is there to guide you through what can be an incredibly challenging transition away from a destructive habit. The costs of cigarette smoking are simply too great.