Tesco enters ‘quit smoking’ market

Supermarket giant Tesco is preparing to launch a range of own-label nicotine replacement therapies.

The retailer’s own-brand assault on the nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) market will put it in competition with established brands Nicorette, Niquitin CQ and Nicotinell, which together hold the lion’s share of the NRT market.

Tesco has registered Quit-Aid and is believed to be phasing in a range of gums, nasal sprays, tablets and lozenges and inhalers under the brand-name later this year.

A Tesco spokesman says that there are at present no plans to launch such products but adds: “Maybe later in the year.”

Tesco is increasingly offering a wider range of services and products through its 200 in-store pharmacies in the UK. It has already launched a free smoking cessation service in which customers can have a private consultation with a stop smoking adviser. A report commissioned in 2005 by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) – before the ban in public spaces was passed – predicted that the NRT market – which includes over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription sales – would increase from £89.4m in 2004 to £132.6m by 2008.

The OTC market has continued to increase by more than 10% each year since 2000.

The market leader in 2004 was Pfizer’s Nicorette, with an estimated 43% share of the overall market worth £38.3m. Other own-label brands include Boots NicAssist.

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