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Sales of nicotine treatment pill spike in S. Korea

2017/02/28 08:46

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- Sales of an anti-nicotine tablet have spiked by more than eightfold in South Korea over the past two years, industry data showed Tuesday, as more smokers opt to quit amid bolstering government efforts on an anti-smoking campaign.

The annual sales of Champix, a prescription medication designed to treat nicotine addiction, reached 42 billion won (US$37.02 million) at the end of 2016, compared with 5 billion won recorded in 2014, according to the company and industry sources.

Its on-year sales grew by more than fourfold to 24 billion won in 2015, helped by the government's launch of an all-out campaign on smoking cessation, in which related public agencies began to offer free 12-week anti-nicotine treatment programs to those who wish to quit smoking.

Champix, sold by the local unit of Pfizer, comes in the form of varenicline, which stimulates nicotine receptors more weakly than nicotine itself, thereby reducing cravings for cigarettes and other tobacco products.

According to the industry data, Champix currently accounts for more than 80 percent of the anti-smoking therapy market in Korea.