Everything seems to cost more these days, but keeping an eye on your budget isn’t just a smart choice—it’s a necessity. One product category that seems to increase in cost year after year is tobacco and smokeless tobacco products.
If you’re considering nicotine pouches as an alternative to cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products, you may be wondering if there’s a cash savings opportunity in making the switch. In reality, the actual numbers will depend on how often you use these products and the brands you enjoy most.
Here's a quick look at some numbers for each type of product to get you thinking about what you currently pay and what you may be able to save when you make the change to nicotine pouches.
How much do nicotine pouches cost?
The cost of your nicotine pouches depends on the experience you want. If you are someone who would enjoy a mini-pouch with 2mg of nicotine per pouch, you can get a can for as low as $3.50 per tin with 20 pouches inside. Of course, this is the cost to buy in bulk. If you don't want to buy 30 tins at a time, you can also get the same low cost with a 10-pack of tins.
Do you not need to buy so many tins at once? Expect to pay $4.49 or more for a single tin of 20 pouches, or about 22 to 25 cents per smokeless nicotine experience.
Some states do charge an excise tax on pouches, which will affect the price somewhat.
How much do cigarettes cost?
When discussing the price of cigarettes, location matters. If you live in a state with very high cigarette taxes, which are built into the price of every pack sold, you’ll pay much more than someone living in a low-tax state. As a rule, cigarette taxes have brought the cost of a pack of smokes to an all-time high, with 148 cigarette tax increases being passed in select states since 2008.
As a result, the average cost of cigarettes in the U.S. is $7.22—more than $0.36 per cigarette! But this is the average cost. Some states will have much lower prices, like Missouri, which offers the lowest price in the country at $5.25 a pack. Other states have more than doubled that price. New York, for example, has an average pack cost of $12.85. You’ll spend 64 cents just to light up!
Cigarettes have another cost to consider: lighters and lighter fuel. There’s a reason most smoke shops sell lighters at the front counter. They know most people can never have too many. It’s a little cost, but it can really add up.
How much does vaping cost?
Another option that gets compared to nicotine pouches is vaping or e-cigarettes. At first glance, this option seems low-cost and possibly even cheaper than cigarettes. Let’s look at the cost breakdown for the typical user:
- Vape pens or e-cigarette units: $25-$200
- Vaping liquid or “juice”: $5-$25 per bottle, which can last a month or more
- Cleaning and maintenance tools: $10-$50 per year
Why the difference in cost? Some people choose disposables over the longer-lasting units that you can refill time and again. You can also customize the long-lasting units for appearance and performance.
Many people who vape take their vaping very seriously as a lifestyle choice, so they may invest in the tools to vape similar to a hobby or other passion. You do not have to buy the higher end vaping products, however. The low-end disposable vapes cost under $20 and provide up to 3000 “puffs.”
If you reuse your vaping equipment, expect to replace and clean parts, as needed. The rechargeable devices will need replacement charging cords, too, after a time.
How much does smokeless tobacco cost?
Smokeless tobacco, also called "dip" or "chew," is priced similarly to the nicotine pouches mentioned above. You would buy the flavor or variety you like most in a tin (where allowable by law). Each tin ranges in cost, but like other tobacco products, it will likely have some state tobacco taxes added to the price.
What can you expect to pay for a tin of smokeless tobacco? Here are a few states shown as an example:
- Massachusetts: $11-$14 per can
- Missouri: $3-$5 per can
- Washington: $8-$9 per can
Some states have banned flavored smokeless tobacco, making the price much higher in neighboring states, due to demand. There are also some “discount” brands of chew, so you can expect to pay twice the amounts listed above for the premium brands.
Which is most affordable?
Based solely on the purchase price, the clear winner for the initial cost is the nicotine pouch. You can get started with just a few dollars, and there is no additional equipment or supplies to buy. While this price is comparable to smokeless tobacco, you have the option of not spitting with the nicotine pouches. This means you won't have to buy a spit container or worry about where you can use the product. Plus, if you like flavors—and live in an area where flavors are legal—nicotine pouches are a clear winner.
When comparing nicotine pouches to other products like cigarettes and vapes, they win there, too. They are far cheaper than smokes (by 26 to 65 cents per experience). And while vapes may eventually be cheaper per experience, in the long run, that's assuming you mix your own liquids and perform only the bare maintenance on your vape unit. To get started vaping, you’ll pay much more than a tin of nicotine pouches.
Most people don't choose their nicotine products based on price alone. There are far too many considerations to make to leave it all up to your budget. Some people prefer less mess or want to get away from tobacco altogether. Others hate spitting or smoky car interiors. Still, others want to use nicotine products and appreciate having their choice of flavors, such as mint or coffee.
Whether you make the switch to nicotine pouches for the flavor or the cost, just know that you’ll likely save at least a little over competing options. And if you’re switching from cigarettes, you may be able to save a lot.