Are e-cigarettes better than traditional smokes?

“Evil corporations” aside, e-cigarettes can be worth the investment

I haven’t smoked a real cigarette since Christmas Eve 2012. For someone who started smoking as a senior in high school with a pack-a-day Marlboro Menthol habit, I’m darn proud of that. And my budget is even happier.

Last week, President Matthew L. Myers issued a statement asking the FDA to regulate e-cigarette companies. Myers says e-cigarette companies acting more and more like their Big Tobacco counterparts — and using marketing tactics to target kids.

Do electronic cigarettes need the FDA?

It’s true e-cigarette use is up among youth, according to a CDC report. Is that because these companies are marketing to kids? I’m not so sure. Yes, the commercials air on TV, where no tobacco product has tread for decades. So there may be a need for at least some regulation.

On the other hand, celebrity endorsements like Stephen Dorff, Jenny McCarthy, and Courtney Love aren’t exactly names the average high schooler is immediately going to latch onto. My fellow Gen Xers? Sure, those are recognizable endorsers. But how many teen girls have Dorff on their walls these days?

Eventually, the FDA will get involved — not just for the call to restrict marketing, but more for adult consumers like me who are using e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. Keep in mind that these companies explicitly state e-cigarettes have not been approved as a “cessation device” by the FDA. But for smokers who are addicted not only to the nicotine but the actual act of smoking, e-cigs can offer the perfect alternative.

How much two smokers can save with e-cigarettes

I quit smoking regular cigarettes for a few reasons. Mostly, I was just tired of my friends and relatives harassing me. But what I didn’t expect was just how much money I’d save once I switched  — and once my boyfriend did, too. If I ever need a reason to stay away from traditional cigarettes, the cost-savings will be right at the top of the list.

We had two people in our household with pack-a-day habits, smoking Marlboro Milds. We’d try to buy cartons to save money, although they weren’t always available, so we often had to buy higher priced individual packs. We both switched over to blu eCigs.

  • Per month, cigarettes cost us between $400-$450
  • To date, this year we’ve spent exactly $249.29 on e-cigarettes

Granted it, we got the 2 starter kits for free since we asked for them for Christmas. And believe me, both sets of parents were more than happy to give them to us, since it meant no more regular cigarettes.

So with the holidays coming up, if you’re thinking about switching, gifting is a good way to get around the initial cost, which is where you’ll spend the most money.

But for the sake of the financial argument, let’s say I paid for two blu starter kits. That’s $79.95 each, for a total of $169.50 with tax.

It should also be noted that the blu eCig batteries (that is, the stick part of your cigarette) won’t last forever. The threads that connect it to the filter cartridges wear out. Out of the four batteries we started out with, half are broken. New ones cost $13.95 each. So we’ve spent a total of $29.58 with tax.

Now, to compare apples to apples, if we add up all of the costs we’ve had for blu eCigs this year, and add in the starter kit cost, we’ve spent $448.37. I’ve already ordered our filter cartridges for the month, so that’s our 11-month cost for smoking this year.

If you divide it out, that’s an average monthly cost of $40.76, which means we’ve spent the same amount to smoke for 11 months of this year that we would have spent for one month of regular cigarettes.

The thought of $400 in savings every month will go a long way if I ever end up having a craving for a regular cigarette. All that’s left is to hope e-cigarette companies won’t actually follow Big Tobacco and screw up that savings by making customers pay the legal bill for lying to the FDA and American public.

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