Smoking prevalence in Romania is high by European standards. Indeed, smoking is among the major causes of preventable death, contributing to the country’s high rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
One major constraint on sales growth in NRT smoking cessation aids is that the Romanian government now offers Rx smoking cessation aids to patients under the auspices of the anti-smoking campaign that it rolled out during the review period. This means that a significant proportion of the potential consumer base for OTC NRT products now receives them for free or at heavily discounted prices on prescription.
Sales of NRT smoking cessation aids remain low overall and the main reason for this is that consumer-awareness of these products remains low. Although the leading brand Nicorette is advertised, its campaigns have a rather narrow focus and products are generally presented as suitable for those who are already committed to quitting smoking, rather than as products that can motivate smokers to quit.
Johnson & Johnson’s Nicorette remains the only major brand present in NRT smoking cessation aids and the brand dominates sales in both NRT gum and NRT patches, the only products areas present. The brand faces very little competition and is almost always the only name recommended by doctors and pharmacists as well as the first choice of consumers, to the point that Nicorette could be synonymous with the entire category.
Social media has become an important means of promoting different methods of quitting smoking. Platforms such as Facebook allow people to access “miracle” ways of stopping smoking and these include the consumption of certain foods and vitamins that can help a smoker to bypass symptoms such as irritability, agitation, fury and anxiety generated by the lack of nicotine.
With sales of NRT smoking cessation aids still very low and with the variety of products limited to just NRT patches and NRT gum, it is unlikely that Nicorette will see any major competition from rival brands during the forecast period. Nicorette’s main rival at global level, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health’s Nicotinell, is not widely available through store-based retail channels in Romania and the only products that present any challenge to Nicorette’s dominance are basic, generic-like products that are offered at very low prices.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Consumer Health market research database.