Tobacco ‘combustible’ cigarettes cost less to purchase than equivalent amounts of e-cigarettes in 44 of 45 countries sampled around the world, according to a new American Cancer Society study.
The study, appearing in Tobacco Control, concludes the gap exists despite the fact that e-cigarettes are not yet widely subjected to comparable excise taxes as ‘combustible’ cigarettes.
Warnings that e-cigarettes are a cheap, tax advantaged product relative to heavily taxed combustible cigarettes have been repeatedly claimed in the scientific literature and lay media. These claims, however, do not appear to be based on price data.
Researchers from the American Cancer Society and the University of Michigan School of Public Health compared the cost of ‘combustible’ cigarettes to those for two major kinds of e-cigarettes: disposable e-cigarettes (non-refillable) and rechargeable e-cigarettes, which can be refilled with nicotine liquid.
The researchers found that on average, the price of a pack of combustible tobacco cigarettes was just over half the price of a disposable e-cigarette ($5.00 and $8.50, respectively). They also found that while the liquid nicotine used to refill e-cigarettes can cost a couple of dollars less than a pack of regular cigarettes, the minimum price to purchase a rechargeable e-cigarette to use this liquid nicotine is more than $20. The rechargeable e-cigarettes preferred by most daily e-cigarette users cost even more.