Vape shop prices

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How Much Do Vapes Cost in 2021?

Are you are a smoker looking to quit? You may have heard that vaping is 95% safer than smoking. Maybe you used some common sense to steer away from fear-mongering and unsubstantiated claims against vaping. And you may be wondering how much will vaping cost you, either initially or in the long run.

If you are afraid that a healthier alternative will certainly come with a premium, then rest assured that this is not the case. Vaping can be cheap, especially if your goal is to quit smoking. And even if you take it up as a hobby, there are ways to do that on a budget.

If you are afraid that vapes cost an arm and a leg, fear not. The cost of vaping can fit into most budgets, particularly if your primary goal is to quit smoking.

A beginner vape can be pretty cheap nowadays. They are simple devices to learn and they range in style and performance. These vapes are known as disposables, pod systems, cigalikes, AIOs (all in ones), vape pens, and MTL tanks with small box mods (starter kits). The common price ranges:

Disposable vapes: $5-$10
Pod systems: $10 – $30
Vape pens: $15 – $35
MTL starter kits: $30 – $60

Those price ranges are typical, but there are devices that cost more. More expensive vapes often have a higher quality manufacturing, more innovation in design, and rugged durability… but not necessarily better performance. By and large, even the most advanced features of any vape can be matched by another at a much lower cost. If you are tempted to spend more than the typical price ranges for a certain type of device, do it because you simply want the device. If you’re expecting better performance commiserate with the price increase, know that it’s not likely to be the case.

All vapes have a heating element (a coil) that needs to get replaced. Think of it like this: your vape is like a lamp and the coil is like the light bulb. Although it won’t go out the same way a bulb does, that heating element needs to be replaced when performance drops off. Because of that, you have to include the cost of coils in your calculations. The coils—which can come in pods, cartridges, or little metal housings—usually cost in the $1-5 range per. They need to be replaced about once a week (but sometimes longer in between).

You can expect to vape between one to ten milliliters of e-liquid per day, although most people would fall in the bottom half of that range. Consumption will vary depending on the device’s vapor production, your desired nicotine uptake, and the strength of your juice.

How much does vape juice cost?

Vape juice is an important factor to consider when calculating the cost of vaping. If your device is prefilled with e-juice, the initial cost is generally cheaper than a refillable one. But the amount of vape juice you’ll get is a small percentage of what you get when you buy a bottle. If you have a refillable vape, the cost will quickly prove itself to be much cheaper than a prefilled device.

Most prefilled devices hold a small amount of liquid, usually only around 1 mL. Regardless of if they’re purchased in a multi-pack or not, the cost breaks down to about $3-7 per. And on average, they will last you one to two days before needing to replace. They’re convenient but not as cost-effective as refilling.

Bottle sizes of e-juice can range from 10 mL to 120 mL. Prices vary, and they’re not always predictable based on bottle size. In general, bottles of vape juice range from $10 to $30.

  • Older devices are usually offered at a discount. Check if your favorite shop has a “clearance” section. You can also find second-hand vapes at very low prices if you check online forums or vape-related Facebook groups.
  • When it comes to vape juice, there are cheaper brands with excellent flavors at a fraction of the price of so-called “premium” juice.
  • If you want to progress into the hobby side of vaping, you can save a lot more. Wrapping your own coils and even DIYing your own vape juice are the pinnacles of cost-saving methods.

An affordable vape pen, replacement coils and juice may cost you as little as $50 for the first month, while a full-featured box mod paired with an MTL tank, coils, and juice, may go up to $120. After that, you should expect an average of $30-60 per month for coils and juice. If you have been spending around $6 on cigarettes per day, in both scenarios you will start saving before the end of the first month.

Disposable vapes and prefilled pods will come with a very low-cost upfront, but will probably raise the monthly costs depending on consumption. But if you don’t want separate purchases and don’t wish to go through trial and error, they are an excellent and very practical solution—and by far the easiest way to vape.

What about advanced vapers?

Most vapers will be happy with their initial purchases and not graduate to these categories. But some will want to spice things up a bit.

Most of the vapes for intermediate vapers belong in one main product category: high-wattage mods paired with sub ohm tanks. A standard dual-battery mod will cost anywhere between $30 and $90, and a sub ohm tank will generally cost around $30-50. Buying these in a kit will shave the price a bit, bringing it to between $40-100. There are of course more expensive options, but in most cases, these can be considered hobbyist items.

Hobbyists are vapers that use multi-battery mods, rebuildable atomizers, mechanical mods, and high-end items. While there are ways to save money when going down that route (more on that in the following section), most hobbyists will generally end up spending much more on their vape gear than the average vaper.

While advanced vapers will generally vape more, the price they pay for e-liquid can vary. Sub ohm tanks and large rebuildable atomizers can go through e-liquid at impressive rates, but high-end MTL atomizers will consume a similar amount of juice to beginner vapes. On top of that, many vapers make their own juice, while others may go through many bottles of premium juice per week.

How can you save even more?

As a beginner, you can save money both from hardware and juice purchases. Older devices are usually offered at a discount—check if your favorite shop has a “clearance” section. You can also find second-hand vapes at very low prices if you check online forums or vape-related Facebook groups.

When it comes to juice, there are cheaper brands with excellent flavors at a fraction of the price of premium juice. And if you want to spend even less money, e-juice DIY shops offer unflavored nicotine base at very low prices, especially when buying larger quantities. Unflavored base will certainly not taste like cookies and cream, but it does have a slightly sweet taste that you may enjoy.

Building your own coils and e-liquid DIYing are other ways to save money. Wire spools, organic cotton, flavor concentrates, VG, PG, and nicotine base are much cheaper than store-bought vape coils and e-liquid, but they will only be of use to you if you take on vaping as a hobby.

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Vape shops: who uses them and what do they do?

  • Research article
  • Open Access
  • Published:

BMC Public Healthvolume 18, Article number: 541 (2018) Cite this article

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‘Vape shops’ are a popular source for buying electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and related products. The products that vape shops sell, their marketing techniques and the extent to which they provide information or encouragement to smokers to quit tobacco use, as well as the patterns of tobacco and e-cigarette use of their customers are not well understood.


We conducted cross-sectional surveys in vape shops in the East Midlands region of the United Kingdom, one with shop staff (n = 41), and one with customers (n = 197).


The majority of customers (84%) currently used e-cigarettes. Among current vapers, 19% were dual users and 78% had quit smoking. Over half of vapers reported using a lower level of nicotine in their current e-liquid than when they started using e-cigarettes.

There was a wide variety in products and price ranges between the shops. Many staff reported that customers ask for information about quitting smoking (90%). Less than half reported providing smoking cessation advice, although 76% of staff reported feeling confident about delivering cessation advice to customers who ask for it. Just under half of customers and shop staff said they thought it was appropriate to deliver formal in-store smoking cessation support.


The majority of vape shop customers are vapers who have quit smoking. Shop staff play a central role in providing customers with product information, and many provide smoking cessation advice. Further research is needed to investigate the potential for smoking cessation interventions in vape shops, including the extent to which these would appeal to non-vapers.

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Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) provide a less hazardous alternative to smoked tobacco for smokers, and can aid smoking cessation [1,2,3,4,5,6]. E-cigarettes are increasingly widely used, with 20% of smokers and recent ex-smokers in England reporting use in the first quarter of 2017, compared with 3% in 2011 [7]. E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used cessation aid in England; an estimated 34% of adults who quit or made a quit attempt in the last year reported using e-cigarettes in their most recent quit attempt, compared with 21% using over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy and less than 3% receiving behavioural support [7]. The number of specialist e-cigarette shops has also increased, with recent estimates suggesting that the UK has 1700 ‘vape shops’ [8,9,10]. The high street locations of vape shops make them an easily accessible option for smokers, and they are currently the most popular source for purchasing e-cigarettes in England [7].

Smokers who use vape shops are likely to be interested in temporary abstinence, cutting down or quitting smoking. Since vape shop staff have a potential major role in capitalising on opportunities to promote smoking cessation through their engagement with customers, it is important to understand the products they sell and marketing techniques they employ, and the extent to which they provide information or encouragement to smokers to quit all tobacco use. To date, the available evidence is limited to studies of vape shops in the USA, and one qualitative study in the UK [11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26]. While anecdotal reports suggest that some UK shops offer services such as smoking cessation advice and receive referrals from local health services, there are no quantitative studies of these or other vape shop functions and activities in the UK. We now report cross-sectional surveys of the products and services, including smoking cessation advice, offered in vape shops in the East Midlands region of the UK, and of the patterns of tobacco and e-cigarette use and sociodemographic characteristics of their customers.


Study population

The study population included shop staff (including owners and managers) and customers in vape shops across three counties in the East Midlands region (Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire). Eligible participants were 18 years of age or older and were able to give informed consent. Using an online UK e-cigarette shop directory we identified 97 e-cigarette shops across the three counties [27]. We estimated that a sample of 59 would provide estimates of proportions (for example of shops providing cessation advice) to within 13%. We identified a random sample of 65 of the shops, stratified by county and urban or rural location, using the random sampling option in Stata 14. Our sample allowed for a 10% refusal rate.

Data collection

Staff survey

Shop staff were contacted by telephone to seek their agreement for a researcher to visit their shop to collect data. Visits were undertaken on a mixture of weekdays and weekends to maximise the representativeness of the customer sample. Shop questionnaires were completed over the phone or face-to-face. All data were collected between January and April 2016.

The staff questionnaire comprised 36 questions and asked about the types of products available and product prices and promotions. The questionnaire also explored the shops’ role in smoking cessation, such as whether customers seek advice about quitting smoking in shops, whether shops provide information about quitting, whether vape shops are an appropriate environment in which to offer smoking cessation advice and how this should be implemented (for example, by a trained member of shop staff or an external trained advisor).

Customer survey

As not all shop staff were willing to allow the study researcher to approach customers directly, customer data were collected in two ways. In shops which permitted a direct approach, the researcher approached all customers entering the shop during the visit, explained the background to the study and asked if they would like to participate. Customers who agreed to take part completed the questionnaire face-to-face with the researcher. In shops which did not allow customers to be approached directly, the researcher left printed copies of the questionnaire for customers to complete and to be collected from the shop at a later date.

The customer questionnaire comprised 41 questions and assessed socio-demographic characteristics, patterns of e-cigarette and tobacco use, motivation for using e-cigarettes, preferences for type of e-cigarettes product, their use in smoking cessation and risk perceptions. Customers’ views about e-cigarette shops were also explored. Questions on tobacco use and previous quit attempts were obtained from the Smoking Tool Kit Study [2], and sociodemographic questions from the General Lifestyle Survey [3] and the Integrated Household Survey [4]. Customers who completed the survey were offered the opportunity to be entered into a prize draw to win to win £200, £100 or £50.


The staff questionnaire was piloted in five shops. The customer questionnaire was piloted in members of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies’ public involvement group, a group of Nottingham-based smokers, ex-smokers and e-cigarette users. Both questionnaires are available in online supplementary material (Additional files 1 and 2).

Statistical analysis

All data were inputted in Excel and exported into SPSS-22 for data management and statistical analysis. Descriptive analysis was used to explore key aspects of the data. Because some of the data were obtained via self-completion and some face-to-face respondents said they had insufficient time to complete the full questionnaire, there were some missing data. These are reported in a ‘no response’ category.


Vape shop staff survey

Staff in 41 (63%) shops agreed to participate in staff surveys, and 36 of these also agreed to allow customer interviews. The shops that declined to take part tended to be small independent shops, and in most cases did so because they were concerned that their customers would not want to be asked to complete a survey. 14 of the staff respondents were shop owners, 17 were managers and 10 were other staff members.

Types of e-cigarette products available

All shops stocked starter kits (which typically include a device and a bottle of e-liquid), e–liquids, atomisers, batteries and accessories (Table 1). Nicotine strengths of e–liquids ranged from 0 to 36 mg/ml. All shops stocked a 0 mg/ml nicotine e-liquid, and over half (54%) stocked 24 mg/ml liquids; 10% stocked liquids containing up to 36 mg/ml. In 17% of shops the highest nicotine concentration was 18 mg/ml, and in a further 17% it was 20 mg/ml.

Full size table

The most commonly stocked sizes of e-liquid bottle were 10 ml (100%) and 30 ml (100%). Every shop stocked menthol, tobacco and fruit e-liquid flavours. 63% of shops reported stocking other flavours; among those who specified these flavours, dessert-based flavours were the most common. The majority of staff (78%) reported that the fruit flavours were the most popular among their customers.

Price and promotions

There was a wide variety in price ranges between shops. In 46% of shops starter kits ranged from £10–£20, and in 37% they cost £21–£30 (Table 1). Promotions included discounts and free trials of starter kits. The prices of e-liquids did not increase with nicotine strength in any of the shops.

Smoking cessation advice and types of services available

A large proportion of staff respondents reported that customers asked for information about quitting smoking (90%; Table 2). Less than half (41%) reported providing any sort of smoking cessation advice, although 76% of staff reported feeling quite or very confident about delivering cessation advice to customers who ask for it. The majority of shops offered information about the products (93%) and cutting down on smoking (88%). Staff reported providing other information, including battery safety, operation and maintenance. The majority of staff accessed the information they gave to customers online and/or provided information based on their personal experiences.

Full size table

Full size table

Just under half of staff respondents thought it was a good idea to deliver smoking cessation advice from a trained individual in their shops; a similar proportion were unsure. Among those who felt it was a good idea, 74% thought the best way to deliver it would be through support from a trained existing member of staff (Table 2).

Vape shop customer survey

The customer survey was completed by 197 customers, either by self completion (83 responses) or face-to-face interview (114 responses).

Demographic characteristics and e-cigarette use

The majority of customer participants were male, white British, aged between 18 and 39 years, in full time employment and held a formal qualification (Table 3).

The majority of participating customers (84%) currently used e-cigarettes (Table 4). Of the 16% that did not, half (8%) were considering using an e-cigarette, a quarter (4%) were purchasing for somebody else and a further quarter (4%) were collecting information only. Among participants currently using an e-cigarette, 19% were dual users (e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes) and 78% had quit smoking cigarettes. A minority (3%) of those using e-cigarettes had never smoked cigarettes.

Full size table

The main reasons reported for taking up vaping were wanting to quit smoking, the belief that vaping is less harmful than smoking, and e-cigarettes being cheaper than regular tobacco. The majority of e-cigarette users, 86%, perceived EC to be less harmful than regular cigarettes, and 82% had experienced no side effects from vaping. Among those who had, the side effects headaches, chest pain/shortness of breath, coughs and colds and dry mouth/throat were the most frequently reported. Most vapers (64%) reported spending up to £10 a week on e-cigarettes.

More than half of participants reported using a lower level of nicotine in their current e-liquid than when they first started using an e-cigarette (Table 4). The majority (57%) reported currently using an e-liquid containing 1-10 mg/ml, and a small proportion used zero nicotine liquids.


The majority of ex-smokers reported having quit more than one year ago (59%). Health concerns and the costs of smoking were frequently cited reasons for quitting. Most (89%) had used an e-cigarette to help them quit, but two in five had also used nicotine replacement therapy.

Dual users

There was a small proportion of dual users in the sample (n = 31, 19%). 65% of dual users reported smoking tobacco cigarettes every day, while 61% also reported smoking a tobacco cigarette within the last 24 h. However, 58% intended to give up tobacco smoking within the next 6 months. Half of dual users stated their most recent quit attempt was expense-related (52%) and due to a future health concern (45%). (Data not shown).

Vape shop experiences and smoking cessation services

Nearly three quarters of participants who reported vaping (71%) said they usually buy their vaping products from a shop. Most participants reported receiving information about the products from the shop they were in. Around two in five said they received information on quitting and just over a quarter received information about cutting down. Just under half (45%) stated that they thought it was appropriate to deliver smoking cessation advice and support in the shop and that they would consider using such support; of these, three quarters felt that the best way to deliver such a service was through a trained member of staff.


This study found that vape shops cater for customers seeking a wide range of nicotine content, flavours and price points, and offer a variety of promotions. Most vape shop customers were current vapers who had quit smoking, and were using an e-cigarette to either quit or stay quit. A very small minority were vapers who had never smoked. The majority of customers had reduced the nicotine content of their e-liquid since taking up vaping. Shop staff reported that most customers ask for advice about quitting smoking, but that most of the information they provided was about the products they sell. There were mixed views among both staff and customers as to whether it would be appropriate to deliver smoking cessation advice in-store; however there was broad consensus that if such support were to be delivered, support from a trained member of existing staff would be preferred.

Our study has a number of strengths and limitations. Most existing vape shop studies have used qualitative techniques; by using a survey we were able to quantify key characteristics in our population, such as dual use, albeit that we were not able to analyse smoking/vaping trajectories over time. Nevertheless, some aspects, such as understanding the type and accuracy of advice given to customers, would have benefitted from qualitative interviews with shop staff.

While we only used one directory to identify shops, the use of a large vape shop-specific directory rather than a generic business directory (e.g. Yell) means that we are likely to have identified the majority of shops in our study area. Recruitment to the study was more challenging than anticipated; we approached 65 shops, but only 41 agreed to take part. While the sample size of both surveys is therefore relatively small, and prevents us from reliably analysing subgroups (e.g. new vs. long-term vapers), our findings provide an initial insight into who accesses vape shops and why, the products and services offered and the potential for capitalising on opportunities to promote smoking cessation in the vape shop setting. We used a systematic approach to identify vape shops in the East Midlands region, and a sampling strategy which maximises the representativeness of our sample. The study was conducted in a limited geographic region; however we sampled shops in both urban and rural areas to maximise the representativeness of our sample. Our study was conducted prior to the implementation of the EU Tobacco Products Directive, which imposed limits on nicotine strength (20 mg/ml) and e-liquid bottle sizes (10 ml) in the EU [28]; the typical nicotine concentration and bottles sizes will therefore have changed in UK vape shops since our study was conducted.

Our pragmatic approach to data collection means that our customer sample is not random. Some respondents, particularly customers, often lacked the time to fully complete the survey resulting in some missing data. Furthermore, we found that the vape shop setting made it impractical to collect carbon monoxide readings to confirm smoking status, and this measure is therefore based on self-report. There is a risk of social desirability bias whereby respondents are more likely say they have quit smoking cigarettes because they are in a vape shop; however, in existing research biochemical validation found that the vast majority of self-reported quitters in vape shops had indeed quit [25]. Our combination of face-to-face interviews and allowing customers to complete questionnaire in their own time is likely to have maximised the amount and quality of data collected.

Our finding that the majority of vape shop customers were ex-smokers and used e-cigarettes to stop smoking or stay quit conflicts somewhat with population-level data suggesting that around half of adults who use e-cigarettes are dual users [7, 29]. It seems likely that vapers who use specialist vape shops are not representative of vapers in general, and may represent a group more committed to vaping (and hence more likely to have quit smoking) than casual purchasers of e-cigarettes from convenience stores and supermarkets. While we are unable to draw any causal links between this population’s e-cigarette use and quitting smoking, our findings underline that many vapers are successful quitters. Furthermore, our study found that the majority of ex-smokers had quit smoking more than a year ago, suggesting that e-cigarettes may help in sustained as well as in initial cessation. While there is limited evidence as to the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for quitting when bought in vape shops, one pilot study found that at 12 month follow-up, 40% of smokers making their first purchase at a vape shop had quit smoking [16].

Around two thirds of vapers in our sample reported having cut down their nicotine concentration in their e-liquid since taking up smoking; this is consistent with a previous study conducted in the US [20]. This finding may reflect improvements in the ability of e-cigarette devices to deliver nicotine [25]; however, the level by which customers report cutting down (an average of 13 mg/ml among those reducing) suggests that e-cigarettes may enable a two-stage quitting process whereby smokers reduce or overcome their nicotine addiction before attempting to end the habitual behaviours involved and associated with smoking. However, while the majority of our sample used a relatively low nicotine concentration when they started vaping, over a quarter reported using an e-liquid containing a level of nicotine exceeding restrictions imposed by the new EU Tobacco Products Directive (20 mg/ml) [28]. This raises concerns that at least some potential vapers will be put off by fears that e-cigarettes will, at least at the outset, provide insufficient levels of nicotine.

Many customer survey respondents reported cost as a factor which influenced their decision to use e-cigarettes, and most reported a weekly spend of less than £10, i.e. less than the cost of a single pack of 20 premium cigarettes. Existing evidence suggests that 1 ml of e-liquid is consumed over a length of time equal to that which in which a typical smoker consumes 5.63 combustible cigarettes [30]. Based on this assumption, a starter kit costing £20 containing 10 ml of e-liquid would provide the equivalent of 56 cigarettes (2.8 packs of 20). The weighted average price for 20 cigarettes in the UK is currently £7.8 [31] – this suggests that, in the UK, where the price of combustible tobacco is high, the start-up cost of vaping may be similar to the cost of (licit) tobacco; the cost of ongoing e-cigarette use is likely to be lower. Furthermore, we found that shops frequently run promotions, which is likely to help keep the cost down. Smoking imposes a substantial financial burden on smokers, a high proportion of whom are already living on low incomes [32]. The lower cost of e-cigarettes and the price-based marketing approaches used by vape shop customers are therefore encouraging, as they highlight the potential of e-cigarettes as not only a less harmful but also a cheaper alternative to smoking. Existing evidence suggests that in England, vapers are more likely to be from high socioeconomic groups [7]. Ensuring that deprived smokers are informed of the financial benefits, as well as potential health benefits of switching to e-cigarettes may be a way of encouraging use in this population.

Our findings support existing evidence that e-cigarette users are more likely to have accurate perceptions of harm of vaping than the general population or smokers who do not vape; nearly all our customers respondents (82%) believed vaping to be less harmful than tobacco smoking [29]. Given that role that vape shop staff are likely to play in influencing vapers’ and potential vapers’ perceptions of harm and other aspects of vaping (such as effectiveness for smoking cessation), it is essential that they look to accurate and up-to-date sources of information about e-cigarettes. However, previous research suggests that information conveyed to vape shop customers may be incomplete or misinterpreted [13]. Our findings that staff access information in a wide range of ways, including online and based on personal experience, suggests there is a risk that staff may provide inaccurate or biased information. Future research should consider ways to ensure that vape shop customers, particularly those considering vaping for the first time, are given up-to-date evidence-based information.

While the majority of shop staff said customers ask for advice about quitting smoking and felt confident about giving such advice, less than half said they actually provide it. It is not clear whether this means that staff sometimes avoid giving advice, preferring, for example, to refer customers to a health professional; and if so, why this may be. Detailed data on the nature of advice given were not collected, and future research should seek to better understand the types of information customers receive, how that information is interpreted, and whether it is acted upon; however, the most frequent response to an open-ended question about the type of cessation advice given was ‘non-medical advice’ (n = 17), suggesting that shop staff may be unwilling to give clinical cessation advice. However, nine in ten staff said that they provide advice on cutting down regular cigarettes. Taken together, these findings indicate that smoking cessation and reduction are part of the dialogue between vape shop staff and customers, and suggests that there is scope for increasing the level of information vape shop customers receive about quitting using e-cigarettes.

There were mixed views about whether delivering formal smoking cessation advice in shops was a good idea. This may reflect existing evidence which suggests that to some e-cigarette users pleasure and enjoyment are central to the vaping experience, while others regard e-cigarettes as a medical treatment for nicotine addiction, with enjoyment and culture playing much less of a role [33]. A recent vape shop study by Ward et al. identified a divide between groups of e-cigarette users, with some liking the non-medicalised environment of vape shops, but others, who perceive e-cigarettes as a medical treatment, sometimes being intimidated by the vape shop setting. It has been suggested that providing ‘recreational’ and medical pathways to e-cigarette use may maximise the potential for harm reduction [33, 34], and Ward et al. suggest that ‘informal co-working between shops and stop smoking services’ could encourage smokers who are unsure about e-cigarettes [26]. Our mixed findings indicate that achieving this successfully within the vape shop setting might be challenging, given the need to appeal to those seeking a ‘medical’ solution, without putting off vapers who are not seeking ‘treatment’. However, it seems likely that some smokers may feel more confident about accessing vape shops and using e-cigarettes if they know that evidence-based support is available, and therefore that providing support may enhance vape shop profitability.

Among staff and customers who were supportive of an in-store smoking cessation intervention, most felt that the best way to deliver this type of service would be via a trained member of existing staff, although our data did not provide sufficient granularity to gain a comprehensive understanding of the type of advice and mode of delivery that might be appropriate and acceptable. Whether offering help to smokers to transition more effectively from tobacco to electronic cigarettes represents a commercial opportunity to vape shops, by helping to generate new customers; and whether this same commercial interest might then inhibit the promotion of complete cessation of vaping, remains to be seen.


The majority of vape shop customers are vapers who have quit smoking. Vape shop staff play a central role in providing customers with product information, and many provide smoking cessation advice. There is a need for clear and easily accessible information on the health effects and effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, to ensure that vape shop staff provide customers with accurate information on their products. Further research is needed to investigate the potential for smoking cessation interventions in vape shops, including the extent to which this type of intervention would appeal to non-vapers and how and by whom it would best be delivered.


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This work was supported by Cancer Research UK [C4027/A20493]. TL, MB, SL and JB are members of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol, a UKCRC Public Health Research: Centre of Excellence. Funding to the UKCTAS from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Medical Research Council and the National Institute of Health Research, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets generated and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due to ongoing work on the overarching study but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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  1. Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

    Julie Pattinson, Sarah Lewis, Manpreet Bains, John Britton & Tessa Langley


TL, MB, JB and SL designed the study. JP collected the study data, conducted the initial analysis and wrote the first draft of the findings. TL conducted further analysis and drafted the rest of the manuscript. MB, JB and SL edited the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tessa Langley.

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Ethical approval for this study was granted by the University of Nottingham Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Ethics committee (REF D15092015 SoM EPH). Consent was implied by completion of the questionnaire.

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Pattinson, J., Lewis, S., Bains, M. et al. Vape shops: who uses them and what do they do?. BMC Public Health18, 541 (2018).

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  • E-cigarettes
  • Vape shops
  • Smoking cessation
  • Harm reduction
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How to Open a Vape Shop [Step by Step Guide]

Are you thinking about opening a vape shop?

We talk to many people who want to open a local vape shop. So much in fact, we are outlining everything you need to know in this handy guide!

The popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping has created an explosion in the number of vape shops across the country to meet this growing demand.

Many see this as an exciting investment opportunity, and a way to get out of the rat race and start a new, more fulfilling way to earn a living.

So how can you go about starting your own vape shop?  Just follow these steps to get the ball rolling.

How much does it cost to open a vape shop?

Vape shops are a relatively cheap business to start with costs ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 depending on the size of the store and location.

Opening in a major city will obviously cost more than a small town in Middle America.

Add in an additional $10,000 to $20,000 if the plan includes opening a franchise.

Vape shop cost

Vape shops are a relatively cheap business to start with costs ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 depending on the size of the store and location.

Other general costs include.

  • E-Cigarette Kits & Accessories – $7,50
  • Miscellaneous Vaping Accessories – $10,000 to $20,000
  • iPad and Point of Sale software – $2,500

Additional costs such as insurance, licensing, and a lease for the store vary by location.

Having a few month’s worth of working capital is a good idea, in case the vape shop doesn’t start turning a profit right away and to handle any unexpected expenses.

Do you need a license to sell Vapes?

In addition to the general business licenses, tax numbers, relevant permits, the FDA regulates all vaping products the same way it does tobacco, so yes, there are several legal considerations such as licenses that will need to be addressed before setting up shop.

The FDA has a list of guidelines and laws for anyone wanting to open up a vape shop.

Local ordinances are just as crucial for a vape shop entrepreneur.

These vary city by city, and will likely be a significant factor when starting a vape store.

Some municipalities may have laws saying an e-cigarette seller has to be X distance from churches or schools, for example.

Draft a business plan

Opening a business without a business plan is doomed to failure.

No one can wing it and succeed without the kind of luck needed to win the Powerball Jackpot.

 And it’s easy to write a business plan if you find a quality business plan template.

Once all the costs (stock, rent, insurance, etc.), determine how the remaining capital would be best spent like what should go into marketing, signage, or if it would make sense to hire a social media manager.

vape shop business plan

It’s easy to write a business plan if you find a quality business plan template.

Part of a good business plan is understanding the local economy.

The U.S. Census Bureau has the economic breakdown of every American city or town online and for free.

Following the financial means of the local vaping community will help a new vape shop make better decisions when it comes to pricing and what merchandise to stock.

Research, Research, Research

The vaping community is always on the lookout for the next cool thing, and being ahead of that demand curve can lead to a nice bit of cash flow.

Keeping up with the latest industry news and watching what new products significant manufacturers are putting out there is an excellent way to get a peek at what is on the horizon.

It is also a good idea to hit the occasional industry conventions.

Not only is that an excellent way to see new stuff, but also a great way to network.

Watch Youtube and Instagram

This is where the influencers live, and the people who set the trends will be placing them on these platforms.

Most of a vape shop’s customer base will already be following their favorite vaping channels, so it only makes sense for the vape shop to do the same thing.

YouTube also gives access to helpful tutorials where even expert shop owners can learn something new about the technical side of things.

This know-how can be passed on to new customers and shared on the shop’s social media

vape shop online

YouTube also gives access to helpful tutorials where even expert shop owners can learn something new about the technical side of things.

Target markets when opening a vape shop

The primary targets of a vape shop will fall into three different categories.

1. Cigarette Smokers
Vape shops can appeal to smokers who are trying to break their habit of cigarettes.

Marketing your vape shop to these people can be extremely effective! The pitch to smokers should center around educating them on the health benefits of quitting cigarettes, and how switching to e-cigs might be an easy way for them to transition away from traditional smoking. Outline how much money smokers can potentially save to make the switch!

2. Current Vape users

The second target segment for a vape shop is current vape users.

The best way to engage this level of customer is by offering a huge vape shop inventory. Make sure you carry a wide range of products at a great price point.

eHopper POS inventory management features make it the perfect point of sale for any new vape shop!

3. People on vacation

The third target market when opening a vape shop is vacationers.

This often overlook niche is a great way to make sure that you always have a steady flow of customers in your vape shop!

Where to buy vape shop inventory

There are a large number of wholesalers who deal in vaping products from coils, new mods, to e-liquid flavors.

The trick is to not rely on one or two single sellers.

The vaping industry is growing, and the considerable amount of profits a vape shop can bring in has made it a highly competitive market.

Sign up to every industry newsletter out there.

Wholesalers will advertise their sales and specials, and alert their customers to hot new products.

Be careful about some deals. Vaping may be big and getting bigger, but that doesn’t mean that some products aren’t total stinkers.

It doesn’t matter how cheap a business can buy the stock if it isn’t something customers want to buy. 

How to chose the right POS system for a vape shop

A Point of Sale (POS) system is more than a glorified cash register.

A cash register is to a POS system as a crop duster is to an F-22.

A quality vape shop POS system will do more than track cash sales and process credit cards.

It will fully integrate all of a business’s operations in one place so the owner and managers can see what resources need to be put where and when.

Inventory Control
Inventory is the most critical part of a vape shop.

Be sure a POS system manages sales, tracks stock (including incoming), and syncs the information with the owner’s and manager’s devices in all locations and online.

Be sure that your vape shop POS system manages sales, tracks stock (including incoming), and syncs the information with the owner’s and manager’s devices.

Employee Management
Know which employees are making the sales and when!

Online Ordering
Seamlessly integrate online sales in your store.

Loyalty Program
Give your best customers something for their loyalty, and they will keep spending money at your vape shop. It’s also a great way to gain additional insight into which products are more popular.

How to choose the best POS hardware for a vape shop

When it comes to the point of sale system for a vape shop, you get what you pay for.

Going for a cheap model from an unproven company is risky.

This is equipment that will be used multiple times a day, every day.

A perfect choice for starting a vape shop is the HP Engage One Prime POS system!

HP Engage One Prime POS

HP Engage One Prime POS

The best advice for anyone starting a vape shop – buy from a company with a good reputation who offers an extensive warranty and has shown they will stand by their product.

HP Engage One Prime offers a 3 year factory warranty!

Contact HP by 7p, 7 days a week and have a new unit within 48 hours!

This level of warranty is unheard of in the point of sale industry.

The best POS terminals for vape shops offer exceptional performance, along with a better customer experience since they’re fast and can face the customer as they make their purchase for ease of use.

eHopper Vape Shop POS

eHopper is an excellent example of a food truck poos system that is perfect for anyone considering the cost of a food truck.

With eHopper’s vape shop point of sale, you can:

  • Provide online ordering to your regular or remote customers.
  • Track sales based on employee, location, time or other data dimensions.
  • Use eHopper Marketing to ensure your vape store shows up first in local search results.
  • Access robust inventory management features to make sure you have enough oils, brands and accessories to meet your customer demands.


Vape shops are a high-grade choice when it comes to starting a new business.

Like with any company, success isn’t a given or easy, and there is information anyone wanting to start a vape shop should know before diving in.

The good news? Following this step by step guide to opening a vape shop is a great place for any new business owner to start.

Still have questions about opening a vape shop? Contact our team today for a free marketing consultation!

Tags:cost of a vape shop, how to open a vape shop, vape shop, vape shop guideSours:
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Best Online Vape Stores & Shops 2021

Best online vape stores in the U.S.

From the biggest online vape store to the best online vape store, we’ve compiled a list of some of the finest options out there for getting the best vapes online. Accessing a vape shop online will typically allow you to cut down on costs and find exactly what you are looking for in no time at all. Hop online and see what you can find. This list of the top online vape shops will help you get started and find the best online vape store for your specific needs. If you’re looking for vape shops near you, be sure to use our smoke and vape shop locator tool.


Since 2013, Element Vape has served the vaping community. They are always up to the latest trends and stocking the hottest products. They offer some of the lowest prices you’ll find on the web. Element Vape prides themselves on their customer satisfaction and continue to live up to the reputation of a one-stop vape shop. Trash the ash, get in the element.

Key products and services:

  • Free shipping on orders over $50
  • Wide range of the latest products
  • Competitive pricing
  • Clearance deals
  • Easy to navigate through site
  • No clones

Visit Element Vape


With a beautiful website and great customer service, Direct Vapor knows what they’re doing when it comes to vaping. A one stop vaping website, Direct Vapor offers a wide selection of quality vaping hardware, best e-juices, CBD, and affordable pricing for a U.S. online shop.

Key Products and Services:

  • Free shipping on all orders
  • 60 day warranty with free roundtrip shipping
  • Sells many diacetyl-free juices (type “diacetyl-free” into the DirectVapor search engine)
  • 15 day return policy with no restocking fee
  • Low price guarantee. If you find someone else offers the same product cheaper, they’ll match the price or offer a refund for the difference.
  • Only sell the original stuff. No clones.
  • Deals of the week
  • Carry dry herb devices
  • Sells a variety of CBD products

Visit DirectVapor


MyVpro is your one-stop-shop for the latest gear. Based in Michigan, USA, they have an up-to-date selection of the top mods, atomizers, accessories and e-juice. You’ll find all of the hottest brands like Geekvape, Vandy Vape, SMOK, Naked, Aspire etc. Their prices are also very competitive and provide big savings with their clearance section and special weekly deals. If you become a Prime member, you’re entitled to free priority shipping and will get access to exclusive offers.

Key Products and Services:

  • Up-to-date selection of gear and accessories
  • They stock the hottest brands and products
  • Competitive pricing
  • Additional benefits for Prime members

Visit MyVpro


Founded in 2013 and based in California, VaporDNA is a leader in quality, selection, and price, boasting a huge selection of hardware and e-liquids. They’re always one of the first U.S. online shops to stock the newest vapes at solid prices, and they’ve got a great looking site with high quality product pictures. VaporDNA is also the first and the only vape company to earn the Circle of Excellence Award from BizRate in 2016. They are heavily involved with the American Vaping Association and regularly take strides to advocate vaping. They’re certainly in the debate for being called the biggest online vape store.

Key Products and Services:

  • Large selection of e-liquids, devices, and accessories
  • Quick to stock new products from the big Chinese manufacturers
  • Frequently have items available on clearance

Visit VaporDNA


Black Note is synonymous with authenticity and high quality. Founded in 2015, Black Note offers the best premium e-juice tobacco flavors and prides itself on helping create a smoke free world by providing the most authentic and enjoyable alternative to smoking. What they lack in quantity, they make up for with extreme high quality. This stuff is the best of the best.

Key Products and Services:

  • Instead of laboratory concocted synthetic flavors mimicking sweet, fruity, licorice, candy flavors and so on, they craft a tobacco-only natural e-liquid lineup to only appeal to adult cigarette smokers and vapers.
  • Diacetyl free e-liquids and all liquids are tested with results to be free of diketones, including diacetyl and acetyl propionyl
  • Free custom labelling on all their e-juices which is awesome for gifts
  • Free priority shipping
  • Free 90 day returns
  • $10 gift per friend referral
  • Rewards program

Visit Black Note


Kandypens makes some of the more popular vaporizers currently on the market. They have a full line of devices designed for dry herb, waxy concentrates, oils and e-liquids. Kandypens pride themselves on their loyal following and superior customer support. They also offer a lifetime warranty on all of their products.

Key Products & Services:

  • Diverse range of vaporizers
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Great customer support
  • Ships from within the USA

Visit Kandypens

vapingdotcom carries a diverse selection of products that vapers want. From beginner kits to e-liquids and especially the top trending products from the most popular brands, has it all. They even have free shipping on orders over $50, and you can now save 10% off your first order with code “welcome.” understands what vapers want because it’s founded by pioneers in the community. You’ll never have to ask yourself “are they legit?”. They’re the same team that founded the e-cigarette-forum (ECF), which is the world’s oldest and largest vaping forum.

  • Over 1000 products in stock
  • Free shipping over $50
  • Code “welcome” gets 10% off your first order
  • Great selection of beginner kits
  • A premium selection of the best vape mods guarantee
  • Best price promise
  • Founded by the creators of e-cigarette-forum


Vaping360 Team

The Vaping360 team is a diverse group of experienced vaping contributors. We strive to bring you the finest content on all things vaping. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more!


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