Recent studies conducted by the European Commission and Eurobarometer on smokers’ attitudes towards tobacco products reveal that Bulgaria is the European country with the lowest numbers of ex-smokers per capita. In addition, the country has the highest average age of smokers who quit tobacco products.
Unlike most European countries, smoking is still widely socially acceptable in Bulgaria and this tends to make it difficult for the leading players in NRT smoking cessation aids to position their products as appealing to younger consumers. One major reason for high uptake of smoking among younger adults is that smoking prevalence remains high among female consumers, especially by European standards, while the lack of any taboo about smoking in front of children means that many Bulgarians grow up with the impression that smoking is perfectly acceptable at any age.
The second half of the review period saw reduced harm tobacco products introduced to Bulgarian consumers. Notably, Philip Morris has introduced its breakthrough range of smoke-free alternatives into the country under the IQOS brand.
Nicorette by Johnson & Johnson remains the dominant brand in NRT smoking cessation aids, accounting for the vast majority category sales and dominating retail shelves in chemists/pharmacies throughout the country. Indeed, the brand success is based in no small part on the distribution partnerships that it has been able to establish and maintain with all of the country’s leading chained chemists/pharmacies.
The local dietary supplements brand Tabex by Sopharma AD continues to present challenges to the category’s leading brand, Nicorette by Johnson & Johnson. Tabex is presented as a direct competitor to Nicorette and its appeal is based on its low price, the very favourable reputation of parent company Sopharma in Bulgaria and the fact that it is a herbal/traditional remedy is a major advantage in a country where herbal/traditional medicines are often valued over regular OTC options.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Consumer Health market research database.