NRT? No Thanks!

Posted 28th January 2015 by Dave Cross
According to a study conducted by researchers in Denmark, approved nicotine replacement products are filling quitters with a sense of disquiet. This can’t be good news for Pharma, feeling the continuing squeeze from electronic cigarettes.

In The Cult of Pharmacology by Richard DeGrandpre, he mentions how “there was a huge surge of optimism” when nicotine patches were developed in the early 90s. But since their introduction they’ve only managed to help 17.7% of smokers to leave the weed behind.

The Danish team looked at the attitudes towards NRT from long-term, heavy users of nicotine. The participants were all long-term users of NRT, over 12 months, and were asked for their reasons for and level of happiness with continuing to use it.

88% of the subjects stated that they objected to the costs of NRT, were tired of feeling addicted to them and held strong concerns over the long-term health implications of NRT product use. 77.3% were moderate to high-level users of nicotine.

The team concluded that a significant majority of users would like to quit NRT products and suggest that the solution may be to improve the quality of counselling they receive.

The success of electronic cigarettes was not factored into the study – but is playing a large part in strategic planning at GlaxoSmithKline. Rapid growth in ecig adoption has left a large hole in sales of the British firm’s patches and gum.


Speaking to Reuters, Chief Executive Andrew Witty said: “he and his team had spent ‘a few days’ exploring whether they should compete directly by becoming an e-cigarette maker, but had swiftly decided against it.”

“Of course, it's definitely taken a bit of our market, no question at all -- but there's a lot of competition in that space anyway.”

GlaxoSmithKline are the company responsible for the Nicorette and NicoDerm CQ brands, and the increasingly questioned Zyban. One of its strategies for combatting declining sales is the forming of a joint venture with Novartis, the manufacturer of Nicotinell.

“E-cigarettes are just too controversial for GSK to want to get involved in at this stage. There's not enough data to provide robust evidence of the products' risks and benefits,” Witty added.

In 2014, research found that smokers switching to e-cigarettes are far more likely to succeed in quitting or cutting down than users of traditional NRT products.



 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
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