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The availability of NRT, and the amount of NRT consumed, have decreased demand for cigarettes and resulted in net social benefits.

The increased availability of NRT products, associated with NRT products becoming available without a prescription, has had a negative and significant impact on cigarette demand. Moreover, research supports the existence of an inverse relationship between the amount of NRT used and total cigarette sales. A study using US data estimates that a 10% increase in sales of nicotine replacement products would lead to a 0.04% reduction in cigarette sales and doubling of NRT use would result in about a 6% reduction in cigarette demand.

Making NRT available over the counter and without prescription in the US in 1996 resulted in higher smoking cessation, annual net social benefits of at least $1.8–2 billion, and a doubling of the number of quit attempts undertaken using NRT.

Chaloupka FJ, Tauras JA. The impact of nicotine replacement therapies on cigarette demand. Journal of Economics and Finance 2004; 28: 395-403.

Hu TW, Sung HY, Keeler TE, Marciniak M. Cigarette consumption and sales of nicotine replacement products. Tob Control. 2000; 9(Suppl 2): ii60-ii63.

Keeler TE, Hu TW, Keith A, Manning R, Marciniak MD, Ong M, Sung HY. The benefits of switching smoking cessation drugs to over-the-counter status. Health Econ. 2002; 11(5): 389-402.

Shiffman S, Sweeney CT. Ten years after the Rx-to-OTC switch of nicotine replacement therapy: what have we learned about the benefits and risks of non-prescription availability? Health Policy. 2008; 86(1):17-26. logo
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