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Costs of vaping: Evidence from ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Kai Wen Cheng, Ce Shang, Hye Myung Lee, Frank J. Chaloupka, Geoffrey T. Fong, Ron Borland, Bryan W. Heckman, Sara C. Hitchman, Richard J. O'Connor, David T. Levy, K. Michael Cummings

Original languageEnglish
Article number055344
Pages (from-to)94-97
Number of pages4
JournalTobacco Control
Issue number1
Accepted/In press1 Jan 2020
Published1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Competing interests KMC has received grant funding from Pfizer, Inc. to study the impact of a hospital-based tobacco cessation intervention. KMC also receives funding as an expert witness in litigation filed against the tobacco industry. GTF has served as an expert witness on behalf of governments in litigation involving the tobacco industry. Funding Information: Funding The ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Wave 2 Survey was supported by grants from the US National Cancer Institute (P01 CA200512) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (FDN-148477). The ITC Australia Project was supported by National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (APP1106451). Additional support was provided to BWH by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (K23 DA041616) and to GTF from a Senior Investigator Award from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Publisher Copyright: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Study objectives: To compare the prices paid for nicotine vaping products (NVPs) and supplies among current NVP users to prices paid for cigarettes among current smokers. Data: The 2016 International Tobacco Control Four Country Vaping and Smoking Survey (4CV1). Key measures included: (1) self-reported prices paid for reusable NVPs (eg, rechargeable devices with cartridges and tank system devices with e-liquids) in the 3-month period prior to the survey among current NVP users, (2) prices paid for disposable NVPs, cartridges and e-liquids purchased in the last 30 days among current NVP users and (3) self-reported prices paid for cigarettes among current smokers. Results: Disposable NVP price was higher than the price of a comparable unit for combustible cigarettes in England (EN), USA and Canada (CA). Prefilled cartridge price was higher than the price of a comparable unit of cigarettes in USA and CA, but lower in EN and Australia. E-liquid price was consistently lower than the price of a comparable unit of cigarettes across four countries. For start-up costs, price of a rechargeable device is approximately 3-5 times higher than a pack of cigarettes in four countries. Conclusion: NVP prices were generally higher than prices of combustible cigarettes, especially the high upfront NVP devices. The high upfront costs of purchasing a reusable NVP may discourage some smokers from switching to vaping. However, the average lower costs of cartridges and e-liquids relative to a package of cigarettes make switching to a NVP an attractive alternative to smoking in the long term so long as smokers switch completely to vaping.

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