In January 2019, Austria raised the minimum legal smoking age from 16 to 18, to come in line with EU recommendations. The legislation aims to reduce the number of young smokers, and this may have a negative long-term effect on demand for NRT smoking cessation aids as the number of adult smokers is likely to continue to decline.
While Austria still does not have a total smoking ban, the number of consumers who are trying to kick the habit is constantly increasing. According to the daily newspaper, Die Presse, around a quarter of the Austrian adult population smoke on a daily basis, with this share having remained fairly stable over the review period.
Although the number of smokers is declining in Austria, and is set to continue on this path, it is doing slow slowly, with many smokers remaining reluctant or incapable of quitting. The potential for growth in demand for NRT smoking cessation aids therefore remains somewhat limited, especially given the strong growth expected for various alternatives, such as vaping systems, laser therapy and other clinical treatments over the forecast period.
NRT smoking cessations aids continued to be dominated by two international producers in 2019, namely Janssen-Cilag Pharma and GSK Consumer Healthcare with their respective Nicorette and Nicotinell brands. Both producers benefit from the strong presence of these brands in chemists/pharmacies in Austria, as well as from their global prominence, heavy advertising (mainly online via company and brand websites and through television) and new product launches.
Neither domestic producers nor private label players are expected to enter NRT smoking cessation aids over the forecast period, largely due to strict regulations regarding distribution, which currently only allow the sale of these products through chemists/pharmacies. Health and beauty retailers such as dm-Drogerie Markt (Austria) have been petitioning for liberalisation of this regulation, although nothing has changed as yet.
A trend towards start-ups and so-called disruptive brands has been evident in many fmcg markets globally, particularly in packaged food. This trend could also become increasingly visible in consumer health over the forecast period, including NRT smoking cessation aids, if start-ups were to offer genuine innovations, particularly in other NRT but also NRT gum and NRT lozenges.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Consumer Health market research database.