SMOKING BAN IN UK SET TO CAUSE SURGE IN NRT SALES

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A new government bill to prohibit smoking in public places in the UK is expected to result in soaring sales of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. The government anticipates that the new law will persuade 175,000 people to quit smoking.

According to recent statistics, 300,000 people attempted to give up smoking in the UK in the 12 months prior to March 2005. Of these, around 80% used an NRT product. Currently NRTs are available over the counter or on prescription, as is the case with more powerful drugs such as Zyban (GlaxoSmithKiline). Spending on NRTs in the UK amounts to around GBP40.9mn (US$70.97mn) per year.

As the possibility of a ban increases, drugmakers in the country have already initiated a number of marketing activities including a national TV advertising campaign. Smoking-related diseases and treatment costs the UK health service roughly GBP1.5bn (US$1.75bn) per year.