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Is Vaping Cheaper Than Smoking?

September 27, 2023

Vaping and smoking both require ongoing costs, but they significantly differ in various aspects. While it takes some math work, it's possible to calculate the annual cigarette smoking costs and compare it to similar costs for vaping. Learn about the yearly costs of smoking cigarettes vs. vaping below and see where the numbers fall.

Cost of Smoking Cigarettes in Canada

It's expensive to smoke cigarettes in Canada. Looking at data on the price per pack of cigarettes per region, a pack ranges from $11.68 - $15.92, depending on the province. Quebec's cigarettes are at the bottom of that range, while Newfoundland takes the top spot for cigarette prices. With further data from the University of Waterloo, the average cigarette consumption for daily Canadian smokers was 12.5 cigarettes in 2020.

Given that a basic pack of cigarettes includes 20 cigarettes, the average smoker goes through an entire pack in about a day and a half. To account for a year's worth of cigarette costs, we can multiply the average dollar amount per pack of cigarettes ($13.91) by 243, which is the number of packs the average smoker would purchase in a year at the previously determined daily average of cigarettes per day (one box every day and a half). This tells us that the average smoker in Canada spends around $3,380 annually.

Province by province, this figure shifts. Smokers in Quebec pay the least, around $2838, while Newfoundlanders fork over the most at $3868 per year.

This doesn't include the additional cost of lighters or matches required to smoke cigarettes.

Cost of Vaping in Canada

When comparing the cost of cigarettes to the cost of vaping, we need to break down this category further. Within the umbrella of vape devices, there are disposable vapes, pod systems, vape pens, and box mods within the scope of vaping devices. Each has a different price point and amount of puffs, so the time they last and cost varies.

Disposable Vapes

A disposable vape can run from around $5 to $40, and the cost will depend on how many puffs are estimated per device, though they tend to be cheaper than other options.

These can last anywhere from 300-2000 puffs. To get a general idea of how much it costs per year to vape in Canada, we'll use a mid-range figure of about 1,600 puffs per device (about four days of use) and an average price point of $20.

$20 per disposable vape bought every three days for a year lands you around $1,825 per year spent using disposable vape devices.

Pod Systems

Pod systems make it convenient to refill and reuse your vape as needed. They start with a pod system that includes the device and pre-filled pod. Then, to reuse, consumers need to purchase new pre-filled pods and pop them into the device. These devices are rechargeable so that you can extend their lifetime of use.

The pod system can last around three months, and cartridges must be purchased as needed. An average cost of about $15 for the system and $6 per pod refill at a usage rate of one pod per day leaves you with about $2,205 annually for pod system vapes.

Vape Pens

According to research from Governors State University, as of 2021, the average cost for an e-liquid rechargeable device in Canada was $58.20. These devices are in the higher range since they last much longer, around a year or two.

Assuming that a rechargeable vape pen could last you an entire year, the only additional cost after the initial purchase is for the e-liquid used. You can often find 120mL bottle prices around the $65 range; the average vaper may use only 5ml daily.

Considering the starter kit price ($58.20, average) plus the 24 days that each 120mL bottle (around $65) will last, that brings you to a total of about $1,046 per year.

Box Mods

Box mods are the most expensive option for vaping in terms of upfront costs but are also the longest-lasting. Depending on the size and features, these can range anywhere from $100 to $200.

The e-liquid for these devices is the same that's often used with vape pens, so we can assume these prices remain the same: $65 per 120 mL bottle, using about 5mL per day.

You'll also likely need to replace the coil in your box mod every other week to ensure the device can work effectively. Each coil costs about $3.60.

Given the high starting price of around $150 on average, plus the cost of e-liquid and coils, you're looking at about $1,229 spent per year.

Why Is Vaping So Expensive in Canada?

Vaping costs are primarily associated with the devices and the e-liquid used. The vape kits can be even more expensive in Canada due to an excise tax on vaping products.

This tax was imposed in late 2022 by Canada to help discourage youth from beginning to use vaping products. As a result, the prices of vape products and e-liquids increased

 based on the amount of e-liquid present per product.

With the new rules in place, e-liquid faces an excise tax of $1 per 2 millilitres for the first 10 mL of liquid and an additional $1 per 10 ML for amounts over the first 10 mL. The manufacturer or store owner pays this cost directly to the government, but it's passed on to the consumer with raised prices.

So, Is Vaping Cheaper Than Smoking in Canada?

Yes, vaping is cheaper than smoking in Canada. The average Canadian smoker spends about $3,380 yearly on cigarettes, whereas vape smokers only pay between $1,046 and $2,205 annually. This is a realized savings of anywhere from $1,175-$2,334, depending on the type of vape system you use.

Final Thoughts

The cost of vaping in Canada is still significant compared to smoking, but it's much lower than the cost of smoking cigarettes. Even with excise tax considered, vaping still has a much lower annual cost than cigarettes. If you are switching from cigarette smoking and are interested in purchasing a new vape, explore RELX's collection of vapes today.

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