Anti-smoking legislation and structured support from healthcare providers is essential to achieve widespread smoking cessation, claims a new report by healthcare experts GBI Research.
The new report* argues that the effectiveness of current pharmaceutical treatments depends as much on enforced legislation, such as smoking bans, and support from healthcare providers as an individual’s willingness to quit.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to half of all ‘lifelong’ tobacco users will die from a tobacco-related disease, while the five million deaths that occur as a result of smoking every year outnumber the collective lives lost to HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Nicotine addiction therefore represents a serious public health risk and must be met with effective cessation therapies.
GBI Research claims that the prevalent population for nicotine addiction stood at 136.7 million in 2011, while the ‘diagnosed’ population, defined as those going to visit a physician concerning smoking cessation, was only 40 million. Furthermore, GlaxoSmithKline claims that while 70% of smokers want to quit less than 5% actually do, indicating a massive opportunity for companies willing to enter the market.
Popular Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) are conveniently available over-the-counter and account for 75% of all smoking cessation therapies sold worldwide, with patches, gum, lozenges, sprays and inhalers available to deliver doses of nicotine and reduce the effects of withdrawal.
FDA-approved prescription medications for smoking cessation include the nicotine receptor agonist Chantix (varenicline) and the antidepressant Buproprion (marketed as Zyban, Wellbutrin, Voxra, Budeprion, and Aplenzin). However, while these drugs act to alleviate nicotine withdrawal symptoms and the severity of nicotine cravings, both carry associated risks of suicidal tendencies, with Chantix having been forced to carry a ‘black box’ warning since 2008.
The increasing emergence of smokeless electronic ‘e-cigarette’ products have split opinion as effective treatments as, while e-cigarettes are often marketed as anti-smoking treatments, they are often sponsored by large tobacco companies and arguably serve to keep smokers addicted. Furthermore, the ‘e-cigarette’ market is currently unregulated, while low-grade nicotine is often used, which may have unpleasant and possibly dangerous side-effects.
The report states that increasing numbers of patients seeking treatment are being supported by healthcare campaigns around the world. Government efforts are evident in the UK, where the NHS Stop Smoking service enabled over half a million patients to access smoking cessation therapy during April 2011-December 2011 alone.
The report goes on to indicate that future revenues will be made from smoking cessation therapies in countries where legislation and healthcare campaigns are not yet present. South East Asia represents a huge potential market for the next 15 years, as a very high smoking prevalence rate is contrasted with the lack of an established market for NRT or anti-smoking products. GBI Research healthcare analyst, Amy Baker, said: “This market is as yet largely untapped because of cultural attitudes to smoking and a lack of public health efforts; but, should any companies in the future crack the Asian markets, it will offer a massive opportunity.”
The global nicotine addiction therapeutics market was estimated at $4.5 billion in 2011, indicating a CAGR of 3.1% between 2004 and 2011. The value is expected to reach $6.2 billion in 2018, following growth at a CAGR of 4.5% between 2011 and 2018.