Over the past few years, e-cigarettes have exploded onto the market with many of the manufacturers claiming that they are a healthier and cheaper alternative to cigarettes. A new study, however, is reporting that contrary to some reports from the media and published studies that described e-cigarettes as a "tax advantaged product," e-cigarettes are generally pricier than tobacco cigarettes.
For this study, the researchers headed by Alex Liber at the American Cancer Society and the University of Michigan School of Public Health examined the costs for tobacoo and electronic cigarettes in relation to tax policies. They compared the costs for a pack of cigarettes and a disposable e-cigarette, and found that the latter costs $3.50 more ($5.00 versus $8.50) on average.
When the researchers looked at the cost of the refillable cartridges used in e-cigarettes, they found that even though one cartridge might be cheaper than a pack of cigarettes, users had to buy a rechargeable e-cigarette, which could set them back at least $20. The researchers noted that e-cigarette users tended to purchase the more expensive rechargeable e-cigarette options.
Overall, the researchers reported that out of the 45 countries studied, e-cigarettes cost more than regular tobacco cigarettes in 44 of them. The findings could affect how governments will tax e-cigarettes in relation to the taxes that are already in place for tobacco cigarettes.
"Existing prices of e-cigarettes are generally much higher than of combustible cigarettes," the study authors wrote. "If policymakers wish to tax e-cigarettes less than combustibles, forceful policy action-almost certainly through excise taxation-must raise the price of combustible cigarettes beyond the price of using e-cigarettes."
Smoking, which is still the number one cause of preventable deaths in the U.S., is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year, according to the estimates provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although more research needs to be done to fully understand the risks involved with vaping, some studies have found that vaping can be better for one's health when compared to smoking, which is why making them cheaper than or at least at around the same price as tobacco cigarettes would be ideal.
The study was published in the journal, Tobacco Control.