UK - sales of quit aids soars but smoking remains steady..

February 21. 2010 - UK (British Isles minus Ireland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) sales of products to help smokers kick the habit have soared in the past 12 months, but the trend has done nothing to dent cigarette sales, a report has said.

The Grocer said sales of quitting aids such as NiQuitin (offers different ways to help you quit) and NicoTiNell (helps you quit smoking with many products like chewing gums etc) increased by 10% to £97 million a year.

However, neither surging sales of the products nor the outdoor smoking ban had shown any signs of slowing the "long-running slow and steady sales growth" of the tobacco category. Official HMRC HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) figures revealed tobacco sales rose to £11.3 billion in 2009, an increase of 3.3% on the previous year, the trade magazine said. (Smoke-free legislation was enforced across the United Kingdom (UK) by July 2007 (England - July 1, 2007, Scotland - March 26, 2006, Wales - April 2, 2007, Northern Ireland - April 30, 2007).)

Six of the top 10 cigarette brands were in growth in 2009, according to Nielsen data seen by the magazine. Leading brand Lambert & Butler saw sales slip 2.5% but second-placed Mayfair grew 4.8% while Marlboro sales were up 0.7%. The roll-your-own category, widely expected to benefit from the economic downturn, continued to show the strongest growth in the tobacco sector.

The boost in sales of quitting aids was unlikely to have been caused by a sudden upturn in the number of people trying to break the habit. Instead, heavy advertising alongside official National Health Service (NHS) guidance and more products on the market contributed to the upturn, the magazine said. GlaxoSmithKline, which makes NiQuitin, agreed that sales had been helped by the Government's anti-smoking campaign.

A spokeswoman told The Grocer: "Smoking cessation underwent something of a renaissance in 2009, after a quiet period following SmokeFree legislation. "The Government invested heavily in promoting its smoking cessation services locally and nationally, which looks to have made an impact."

Reference: Smoking steady despite quit aids,, 2/20/210.