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May 1, 1996

Nicorette Finds New Place in Smoking Cessation

JAMA. 1996;275(17):1301. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530410013006

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DON'T LOOK for it side by side with the Bubblicious or Wrigley's spearmint.

When made available 2 weeks ago for over-the-counter sale, Nicorette gum was stocked in most drug stores on shelves within close range of pharmacists' view. Part of the reasoning is purely practical. Nicorette is a relatively expensive smoking cessation aid. Kits that include a user's guide and audio tape come in 2 sizes. One sells for $30 and the other for $50.

"We wanted to see if there would be patterns of diversion, theft, or shoplifting," said Curtis Wright, MD, medical review officer at the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Drugs.

Medical Responsibility  Another part of the reasoning reflects a medical responsibility. FDA-approved labeling prohibits the sale of Nicorette to anyone younger than 18 and requires proof of age from suspected minors attempting to buy the product. In granting over-the-counter status to Nicorette, the FDA