Vapers Save Money

Posted 3rd July 2019 by Dave Cross
Addiction journal has published a new study that finds switching from smoking to vaping saves money as well as improving health. The researchers are based at the Department of Behavioural Science and Health and the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at University College London (UCL).

In “Expenditure on smoking and alternative nicotine delivery products”, the team says that the majority of smokers want to quit, mainly to improve their health but a third try to do it to save money. Many smokers try each year and use alternative nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT. They write: “In this study, we aimed to examine self-reported expenditure on two popular categories of nicotine delivery product, e-cigarettes and medically licensed NRT, and a category growing in popularity, heated tobacco products, in relation to expenditure on smoking.”

They note:

  • E-cigarettes are now used by around 2.6 million people in England (20% of smokers)
  • E-cigarettes are now used in over one third (31.9%) of quit attempts
  • Evidence from two randomised controlled trials (RCTs) indicates that using e-cigarettes compared with placebo promotes smoking cessation
  • E-cigarette use among long-term ex-smokers has continued to rise

They say: “Any financial benefits associated with stopping smoking may be partially or fully offset by ongoing costs associated with e-cigarette use (e.g. buying e-liquid and components). Previous studies have estimated the monthly cost of using e-cigarettes to be in the region of $40-60 [£30-50].”

They discovered moderate evidence among current e-cigarette users that women and current smokers reported significantly lower weekly expenditure on e-cigarettes than men. They also found “very strong evidence that those from central and southern England reported significantly higher weekly expenditure on e-cigarettes than those in the north of England”.

The team concluded: “In England, expenditure on e-cigarettes and NRT by users of these products is approximately one third of the amount smokers report spending on smoking. The average smoker could save an estimated £15 per week by switching completely from combustible tobacco to e-cigarettes or £13 per week by switching completely to NRT, although this will likely differ according to individual usage patterns. With use of alternative nicotine delivery products costing substantially less on average than smoking, the cost of alternative nicotine delivery products should not be a barrier to quit attempts.”

Kevin Barron MP ‏said: “New figures show people who vape are £800 better off a year than smokers. Not only is vaping better for your health but also better for your wallet.”

Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson said: “A third of smokers list cost as an important factor driving their desire to quit. Our study shows that if people switch completely to alternative products such as e-cigarettes or NRT, a substantial saving could be made.”

“While the absolute cost saving will vary according to individual usage patterns, we estimate that ex-smokers who have switched to e-cigarettes or NRT spend about £13-15 less per week than the average smoker. The costs of these products should therefore not discourage people from using them to help them quit smoking.”


  • “Expenditure on smoking and alternative nicotine delivery products: a population survey in England” by Jackson, Shahab, Kock, West and Brown – [link]

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker