In addition to the health expenses they would incur from cigarette smoking, smokers will also have to deal with the increasing taxes on cigarettes – the Australian government’s mandate that strives to push out tobacco from anyone’s monthly budget.
Facing this issue, many Australian smokers are moving on to nicotine vaping products (NVPs) from their local pharmacy.
Given a motivated smoker only has to take 1 to 3 puffs of their NVP when they feel strong cravings, a set of 6 cartridges costing just $60 to $78 could last for 2 to 3 weeks.
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That’s a huge amount of savings compared to spending the same amount on just a 20-pack of cigarettes per day.
So, does vaping save money? In this post, we’ll try to see whether nicotine vaping helps save you money than cigarettes.
Keep in mind that all the figures estimated in this article are based on pharmacy vaping products rather than the dangerous illicit vapes sold by illicit parties.
Let’s differentiate the two first before we dive right in.
Illegal Vaping Products
As of October 2021 and May 2023, the Australian government has outlawed the sale and importation of NVPs without a prescription – meaning you can only legally buy NVPs from a pharmacy if a GP deems it necessary for your quit smoking journey
That means any vaping product you’re seeing or purchasing from groceries, tobacconists, corner shops, and even toy stores are all illegal products imported under the radar and regulation with one goal: to make the most profit possible from your increasing addiction.
Clearly, all these stores, especially toy stores selling vapes, intend to create a new generation of nicotine addicts that the illicit industry can profit from.
Simply put, these products were made to profit off of you by getting you addicted to the cheapest possible product they can manufacture, which can be as little as $1 wholesale and then sold onto you at a 3,400% mark-up.
Pharmacy Vaping Products
The only legal NVPs in the market today are sold in pharmacies, and as you would expect, they’re of a much higher and much more responsible caliber.
Pharmacy vaping products are made with the highest standards in mind. Pharmacy vape manufacturers comply with numerous standards expected of medical products, ensuring you’re using a product that’s comprehensively tested and made purely with your health in mind.
All pharmacy vapes are tested for compounds in the aerosol (or vapour) produced. Each chemical used in the e-liquid is also identified, so you know exactly what you’re inhaling.
There is also high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than traditional NRT (like patches and gum) in helping people stop smoking.
The Cost of Buying Cigarettes in Australia Today
Cigarettes are a luxury – a dangerous one if you will. Currently, a pack of 20 sticks will set you back $57.50 for now.
Stressing the ‘for now’ aspect: a 20-pack will cost about 15% more than its current price by 2026.
Any smoker still hooked on tobacco will have to spend an additional $8.70 for each pack, bringing the total cost of a 20-pack to $66.20 – a sum that could have bought you a nice dinner or shirt instead.
If you’re a heavy smoker, this is a financial nightmare that you can easily prevent by stopping smoking.
Looking at the bigger picture, the $66.20 a heavy smoker would spend for each day of the week could have helped you pay off your monthly utilities or some part of your mortgage.
Spending nearly $500 a week on cigarettes isn’t practical at all, and will end up severely decreasing your quality of life.
Keep reading to see exactly how much you’ll be saving if you just decide to quit smoking and go through a GP to use pharmacy NVPs.
The Cost Benefit of Buying Vapes
How much is a vape worth?
Pharmacy vaping products are much more affordable than cigarettes.
On average, a starter vape kit you can buy from a pharmacy may be around $85, but this will likely last you all week, compared to the $66.50 you’ll spend on the 20-pack just for today.
Then, depending on your usage, you’ll roughly be looking at around $40-60 per week on 4-6 cartridges. Compared to the $463.40 spent on cigarettes, that’s up to a 90% saving.
How Long Does Each Cartridge Typically Last?
A motivated smoker following their GP’s prescription of taking 1 to 3 puffs when they feel strong cravings can expect a cartridge to last anywhere between 1 and 3 days.
Some GPs mention that patients who only take a few puffs per day often still have a cartridge left after two to three weeks of the treatment.
How Soon Does a Cartridge Expire?
On average, a cartridge is expected to last for two years if stored at room temperature. The vaping device that powers the cartridges lasts longer.
Given that GPs only prescribe pharmacy NVPs for two weeks to a month, you won’t have to worry about your cartridges expiring too much.
How to Buy Pharmacy Vapes
Ready to get started on your quit journey with NVPs? Here’s how to go through it.
Go Through First-Line Solutions First
You need a nicotine prescription before you can purchase NVPs. As a second-line solution, one requirement is that you’ve already tried and failed to quit smoking with a first-line treatment, such as NRT products.
NRT products (like patches and gums) are the most trusted quitting option available for motivated smokers. They might not imitate cigarettes, but they contain a small dose of nicotine that may be enough to alleviate your withdrawals.
While NRTs can be effective, they don’t work for everyone. If these haven’t done the trick for you, you may now be eligible for a nicotine prescription.
Chat to a GP
As mentioned, NRT products have worked for many successful ex-smokers. But, you might have ingrained behaviours and triggers that only something that mimics a cigarette can successfully address, such as the hand-to-mouth motion, and needing something to use while having a drink with friends.
If your GP deems it necessary, they can write you a nicotine prescription for NVPs.
You can chat to your usual GP about this, or book a bulk-billed phone chat with an authorised prescriber of nicotine.
Visit Your Local Pharmacy
Once you have your nicotine prescription, you can pop down to your local pharmacy. Over 2,200 pharmacies across Australia hold these products in-store, but any pharmacy can order these in for you if they don’t currently stock them.
Both your pharmacist and GP can advise you on how best to use the product, such as the initial setup, and the number of puffs to take when you feel withdrawals.
If there was ever a time to save money, it would be now. The rising costs of cigarettes aren’t worth spending on, and you’ll also have to pay for the potential health costs brought on by prolonged smoking later on.
By quitting smoking today and starting on your smoking cessation journey, you can save well over $10,000 per year – a sum that’s easy to come by if you kick out cigarettes from your life.
We can help you start your journey to rid tobacco for the rest of your life.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.